Based in Edinburgh, Anne Pia has a long experience of writing for different audiences. A language graduate, former teacher and HM Inspector of Education with a doctorate in Education, she has been published many times in professional and academic journals. Her poetry has been published in journals including Northwords Now, South Bank Poetry and Ink Sweat & Tears. She has presented her poetry as a featured new writer at Edinburgh Shore Poets and Platform in Fife, and has read at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Dundee Literary Festival and the Glasgow Women’s Library, as well as at other venues and events. Anne’s creative memoir Language of my Choosing was published in April 2017 and has been shortlisted for the Saltire Award for Best New Book of 2017.
The Art of Walking Away
From your kitchen to your door
there are precisely twelve steps,
it takes less time from your bedroom,
though pace is a determining factor.
And each time is a new time.
I never mastered the latch on your gate,
not even that one last time
when I saw buttercups at the cracked stone of your doorstep
fallen apples define the endless green of the grass at your windows
and as you spoke your careful words,
a squirrel on your garden wall,
on his way home I thought.
I heard songbirds colour your bathroom
spotted the packaging in your bin of your last ready meal
the earthy promise of garlic and basil’s scent, long gone.
Your tobacco sofa, bought on a slow Sunday
where I should or would sit and sing to you sometimes
now gaping and still crumpled from yesterday.
In this now your space there are no guiding clocks
and we had abandoned music’s suggestive commentary
on how we were or could be to each other
preferring neutral silence or the happy clappy presence of your TV.
Your cupboards are a periodic table I know by touch;
from here I see that your white table candles are still not entirely spent
the sellotape in your second drawer ... it will always quietly sit me out
the cheese in your fridge, that proud talisman, always offering consolation or spice
should I need it and in the unlikely event of you ever wanting it.
From your bedroom to your door there are eight steps
and from that other room of gentle light
of easier direction to and fro
there are only three.