Mata Hari and the Jellyfish

Time bends in the exam hall,
drapes skim scuffed parquet
floor, the smell of plimsoles and dust
lingers. All quiet, except the huff
and yawn of an old, old invigilator
roaming the aisles like a kraken.

Above, carved in oak, the names
of seventy-six glorious boys.
They gave their lives for their country
learnt to be men in the Great War:
E.G. Boucher, C.J. Stirk, F.A. Zinke –
each scratched ink across scripts,
sat at desks like these, propped
flushed, hopeful cheeks in hands.

Time bends in the exam hall,
a cloud of yellow dust rises.
Girls tattooed in mauve and jade
trail pony-tails like fronds of seaweed
in paper pools. Jellyfish pulse,
sea anemones come alive
as a vision in chiffon floats past.



Jane Salmons is a teacher from the Black Country.  Currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing, she has been published in a variety of webzines and anthologies including The Ekphrastic Review, The Lake, Amaryllis and Algebra of Owls.  In addition to writing poetry, she enjoys creating handmade collage and handmade, handbound photomontage booklets.