2021 Commended - Em Power, 'Ode To All The Locks'


Commended - 2021 Tower Poetry Competition, 'The Key'


Ode To All The Locks

that I am not allowed to have.
To my mother threatening to
knock the bathroom door down.
To the blank in my brain.
To my cold tears, my twitching
hands. To the horror and delight
of the metal bar sliding forth –
to the click. To the dog locked
out back, barking the night black.
To my brother, sat on the stoop
by our front door forever.
To the rainwater clinging to
his red hair. To the overflowing
gutter. To the empty in his
pocket. To the empty under
the doormat. To the shed,
to the grease-slicked padlock,
to my high-pitched let me outs.
To slippers, to smoke in the dark,
to the soft crunch of gravel, to
the vacuum of street corners.
To the absence of air, or else
anything but air. To the long
silence of trouble, and to all
the doors that wouldn’t budge.