Terry Collett

Gold Star - 23,291 Points (13/12/1947 / LONDON)

Polly Strips His Bed - Poem by Terry Collett

Polly strips back the sheets
where Master George has lain.
She folds the white sheets and
lays them on a chair. She lies

her head on the pillow where
his head has been. She sniffs
and smells him. Closing her eyes
she imagines she's there beside

him and he has her in his arms,
his lips against her flushed cheek.
She imagines they are in bed
together when dawn's light breaks

through the shutters and Susie
the other maid enters and wide
eyed she mouths a huge round O.
She opens her eyes; the pillow

is vacant beside her head, just
a small indentation where he had
laid his head the night before.
She fingers into the pocket of her

white apron a few black hairs she's
discovered on the white pillowcase.
She strips off the pillowcases and
puts them with the sheets. The bed

is now stripped of all coverings
and is left to air. She imagines as
she stands that he is still there,
laid out unclothed, skin all bare.

But in reality she knows he has
gone of to war as he has before.
She hopes he will return alive
and in one piece; no missing

limps or blind or gassed as some
have been she's read; but most of all
she dreads him laid out cold and damp
in some foreign field lying still and dead.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, August 31, 2012

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