Sarah Barr





They are guilt-inducing like unwanted pets.
Not being completely heartless,
I water them every few months
over spring and summer.
Otherwise, I neglect and starve them.

They reduce to thin brown sticks.
I wait for them to find their own way out
onto the compost heap,
their pots into the recycling bin.

Nine months of near-death, and a few buds appear,
stems, more fat buds, which I ignore.
Their growth is persistent.
I transfer them to the kitchen window-sill.
A few drops of plant-food, that’s all.

Their waxy heads multiply, purple-veined
or white-rimmed, with pointed tongues,
dotty eyes, and lemon kitten faces.
They all nod down at me.

‘Don’t leave us,’ they whisper.
I learn there are more of them on earth
than birds, or fish or mammals.
I polish their succulent greenery,
stroke them, ask their permission to go.




Sarah Barr lives in Dorset and writes poetry and fiction. Her poems have been published in anthologies and magazines, including Bridport Prize, Templar Press, Emma Press and Poems in the Waiting Room. Some of her poems have won prizes in competitions for example in 2018: 2nd in the Poetry on the Lake, 1st in the National Memory Day competition, and shortlisted in the Charles Causley competition.

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