Annie Cowell


I have a head crammed with clutter;
climate, covid, conflict.
A flotsam of daily detritus
in which my mind flounders.
I need a life – belt.
So, I’m learning how to putter.
Once a thrill seeker, now I seek the ordinary.
Breakfast is a ritual of kettle, cup, tea;
a sequence securing the first sip of the day,
that bitter -sweet tang of tannin on tongue.
I hang the laundry with precision,
noting the skuttering
of a lizard in the lavender
as it darts from sun to shadow,
inhaling the basil, whilst I savour
the bend and stretch, the warm dampness
of clean clothes, the wooden peg pinched between
thumb and fingers. I wallow in the hedonism
of washing dishes, warm soapy water
temperature tested as if for a newborn,
each dish a gift of mindless concentration.
There is no room to think.
Today, as I splinter from the latest news
of floods and deaths and bombs
I will pursue the perfect pleasure
of polishing my dirty panes. I’ll give
myself to spray and cloth and
clean the broken pieces of myself together again.


Annie is a former English teacher who lives by the sea with her husband and two rescue dogs. She can usually be found walking on the beach or tucked away in a coffee shop writing or reading. She has poems published in or forthcoming in NewsVerseNews, Paddlers Press, Popshot Quarterly, Gastropoda and others.