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Still & Quiet Things


Somewhere in the Midlands a newly bereaved husband sits watching television with his three 
small children. A couple plants Jerusalem artichokes on their allotment in Zone 6. Up and 
down a street in Bromley, a window cleaner overhears family arguments. In Wiltshire, a 
woman and her daughter collect potting compost from molehills on the village green. A man 
in Coventry finishes his thesis on bats. Eggs are delivered to the neighbours, campers moved 
on from Flynnís Pass. In Honolulu, an elderly lady completes the first draft of her book about 
her murdered friend while her husband teaches online. A woman plucks a stray hair from her 
nose. Somewhere in Brooklyn a woman wonders if they will ever mail her that tweed hat she 
left behind. Mules stand in a field. A man in Bray posts a picture of an object he has thrown 
up into the sky. A boy falls off his bike and breaks his leg. Lilac grows. Two small children 
sleep in a teepee in the living room. Their mother is one of the first people in Naples to get a 
haircut. In California a man films his husband playing the piano. A familyís new puppy shits 
in the kitchen again. A woman in Glasgow is told not to set foot outside her door for twelve 
weeks. Food parcels are delivered. Teenagers make love in the backseat of a car. On the 
island, a woman walks through the woods in her wellingtons and a kimono. A farmer tears 
out 200 metres of nesting hedgerow. Ponds are built, an origami eagle. A vet straightens a 
surferís broken nose on Pendine Beach. A boy finds a crayfish in the lake. His younger sister 
falls headfirst out of the boat. Someoneís ex dies. A girl poses in her parentsí back yard. A 
young woman records birdsong outside her Leyton window. A mother of two small children 
is told her tumour is enflamed. Her husband cycles three times around the lake. In upstate 
New York, her sister pins a rhinoceros beetle in a display case. Twin girls run naked through 
a large house. An artist couple kiss in front of his painting in their studio in Szczecin. Funeral 
services are broadcast live. In downtown Toronto, an aunt sits in her apartment surrounded by 
her lifeís work, including the coffee table. A hare runs the circuit of a yellow field. A 
radiologist cancels outpatients. A man cooks a lone steak on a barbeque. Someone pays ten 
euro for a tape of other voices to harmonise with. A sculptor chips away at a stone horse. A 
teacher praises her studentís meticulousness. Children look blankly at their grandparentsí 
faces.



(Shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2020)