Sheila Ash

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The old-style football rattle’s racket
The static on a speaker playing no music
Distortion from an untuned radio
The Justin Bieber’s “Baby” ringtone.
The burrowing of wood worm munching through roof beams
The chomping of termites eating paper files in an Indian office
The first post COVID lockdown car engine revving.
Church bells in the middle of the night.
The underfoot crunch of discarded exoskeletons of The Great Eastern Brood 2021
The cracking of shells in a crab meat factory
Popcorn nibbling in the cinema
Jessica Lange’s Scottish accent in Rob Roy.
The just-out-of-earshot, half-heard conversation between two people in an otherwise empty park
The exaggerated out-breaths of the over-anxious phobic
The snoring of the only other passenger on an overnight bus
The scratch of a badly used fountain pen nib.
Half of the musical score range of pop music on a fellow traveler’s head phones
The spin cycle on a washing machine shaking crystal wine glasses in the overhead cupboard
The voice-over on that Grammarly advert on YouTube
The drip, drip, drip,
drip of the cold-water tap.

The Just in Case Bag

The ‘just in case’ bag produces when required —
Band aids for scraped knees
Antisan for stings by wasps and bees
Kleenex and hand sanitiser
a minty fresh breath atomiser
City Blossom by Issey Miyake
a loyalty card for one free latte
lipsalve and lipstick, Ibuprofen analgesic
two books of crosswords, easy and cryptic
baby wipes and mobile phone,
a suppressed, well-hidden groan
a half-opened pack of Polo mints
a little black book for poem hints
a scarf for dressing up your Tee
a fan photo of who you really want to be
a slightly soiled, dry cleaning stub
a jar of Vicks Vapour rub
a ticket for last year’s Christmas raffle
a chess set with a mended castle
colouring book, pencils and a sharpener
a box of Talking Tables sparklers
safety pins and kirby grips to hold it all together
a pac-a-mac for bad weather
a book of Rumi’s poetry to soothe your stress
a black bin bag to gather up your mess.


Sheila Ash- I write because a feeling grabs me, a memory won't leave me, a moment insists on being captured. My writing has appeared in Better than Starbucks.