Sarah Salway writer

Sarah Salway is a novelist and poet. She was Canterbury Laureate in 2012 and now runs her own creative writing groups in Kent. Her website is

I told everyone I didn’t care,
so long as it’s healthy,
but sitting on a bus one day
watching mothers and daughters turn
in to one another,
(how did I even know the relationship?)
I had to stroke my stomach,
every finger an appeal, and later,

when I held you through that first night,
tiny body settled in the crook of my arm,
I’d have turned myself inside out
to give you my skeleton as protection;
we stared at each other, our conversation
begun long before either of us was born
and though I wanted to tell every happy
ending, could only whisper, you,

into that shell-like ear, had to trust
you to find the tunnel that led past
the talking wall to find the one wishing
shell, and on to the ray of light
falling like a perfect circle in your path,
and the fact that you didn’t know
how you’d got there, or even your purpose,
is your mystery to unravel, not mine.

Night Letters

Like love letters he keeps her bills
in a file by the side of his bed,
each pierced through the heart,
confetti edged sums
as big as the telephone numbers
they once shyly exchanged.
The bills grow in the night,
float down to his pillow, so when he turns
they rustle, the paper tearing
so loudly it should wake her
but she just chuckles in her sleep.
He’ll think of her then, prowling the shops,
licking her lips at a colour, or the cut
of a jacket, focused ahead,
hearing nothing but the click
of his credit card until in her hands
she carries the tissue wrapped purchase
home as carefully as any new born baby.

[‘Night Letters’ was first published in You Do Not Need Another Self-Help Book by Sarah Salway, published by Pindrop Press, 2012. ‘Mystery’ was first published in Digging Up Paradise: Potatoes, People and Poetry in the Garden of England by Sarah Salway, published by Cultured Llama Publishing, 2014.]
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