John C Nash

The Lady of Shalott

He set himself adrift,
a soiled mattress on a river
of discarded lager cans.
The only company he kept
a solitary picture ripped
from a clinic waiting room.
He watched her, mouth open,
but not in song.

She held his gaze from
a life in a binbag of clothes;
a mirror cracked from a hurled
vodka bottle; a hanging blanket
dampening from the dregs.

He was done with the outside,
it was cold there.

He carved his name into the plaster
above the bed. He’d need one
when they broke down the door.
Until then he would be there,
between the rushes, willing
that absurd third candle,
frozen mid-gutter,
to finally go out.

John C Nash finally settled down as a self-employed bookbinder and writer in Northampton, UK. His poetry was most recently published in the inaugural issue of Antiphon.

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