I turn around to see my mother on the roof,
clinging to a chimney. How did she get there?
Sheโ€™s shouting down instructions: which
apples to pick from the orchard behind me.
And then, as if waking from a dream,
she looks around in disbelief. Catch me, she cries,
losing her grip.

Now my father appears in the doorway,
mouth wide open, hands stretched out.
How can he be here? I thought he
was dead. Heโ€™s blushing with shame.
Weโ€™re both too late to rescue my mother.



Ian Seed teaches Creative Writing at the University of Chester, and has lectured in Italian language and literature. He is a poet, critic, fiction writer, editor and translator. He has published a number of collections of poetry and prose, including five full-length collections with Shearsman Books, the most recent of which, New York Hotel (2018), was selected by Mark Ford as a TLS Book of the Year. A new collection, The Underground Cabaret, will be published by Shearsman in autumn 2020.