When he left, there were eggshell steps.
There were stewed, red eyes. Helplessly they wept,
they penned lengthy, fervent letters.
They never slept.
He’d been there when Renee fell, the weekend
they’d wrestled the tent between the trees.
He’d helped set her slender leg, been gentle
whenever she screeched.
When Elle entered her twelfth September,
he’d bedecked her shelves. Hedge presents were everywhere.
The nest held freckled eggs, the elderberry’s sweet depths,
peppery herbs, dewy ferns, evergreen.
He left Beth the grey, endless wretchedness.
She remembers herself newly wedded,
when they were fresh. Her red dress
bed scented, the sheets greedy, messy temples.
He’d been tender, sleek,
velvet eyed. Relentlessly perfect.
He’d been jewelled by secrets.
He left her speechless.
Jen Feroze lives by the sea in Essex with her husband and two small sleep thieves. Her work has recently appeared in Atrium, Ink Sweat & Tears, Ekphrastic Review and The Madrigal, among others. Her first collection, The Colour of Hope, was published in 2020. She likes turquoise things, chunky knitwear and cheese you can eat with a spoon.Find her on instagram @the_colourofhope and on twitter @jenlareine.