I turn around to see my mother on the roof,
clinging to a chimney. How did she get there?
She’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. He’s blushing with shame.
We’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.