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The Man Who Woke Up in the Same Motel Room for Seventeen                              Years 


Anne Lawrence is a former student of Modern Languages at Cardiff University, and a recent Open University Graduate in English Literature. In the last couple of years, her poetry has been published in several magazines, including 'Orbis'. Her poem, 'Spring Wedding' was Highly Commended in the 2013 Sentinel Poetry Prize competition. Married with three children, she lives and works in Northumberland. An occasional Tweeter: @shrewdbanana

His door is always tricky, reluctant

to open, its weight

a reassurance, trying to press him back inside

his room.


Familiar corridors

vanish down perspective lines - devouring him, licking out

their long eternal passage


with alien doors and hidden faces,

encapsulating a liminal journey

with no heroes and no names.


Static sings accompaniment; his ears buzz hollow in a syncopation of lost time.

Thin walls, patterned with unlikely flowers, press onwards to the front desk.


A nod of the head and he straightens

a perfectly imagined hat

(no one wears them now)

remembers to smile,

exits stage left.


Car park signs blink with rain

in a purple light passing

for dawn outside.


Behind him, shadows close

on the empty room,

the unmade bed, the tracks of steam

on still wet tiles.


The cold, dark sense of

déjà vu

always takes


by surprise.

Secret Trees

In the forest we wear green.

We blend in. We don’t wish to feel abroad

like strangers in a strange land.


And our tongues give us pause

as if we return from Troy, or Ancient Rome,

or Mars. Our garments speak instead for us.


So our language, like a lost gift or a dangerous wager,

is kindly returned with politeness:

an obligation we can’t afford.


The well-balanced axe in the cool hand,

a quiver of arrows honed from secret trees

and fletched with gentle harness-

these are all we need.

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