Rosemary Tonks Returns Home from a Health Hydro

She knows the house has been alone,
fires unlit, switches unclicked, fuck you,
she spits, I had to pay for company.

Thinks of it as stage-left, hangs her mackintosh
on the walnut stand Mother hated,
her back to the audience.

Still puffy from the warmth of bleach-white towels
she remembers the robe dropped across
an outdoor lounger.

Four weeks spent in cotton-wool, she had ordered
the stroke of soft dry hands, been fleeced
for thirty days of Swedish massage.

It wasn’t a cure, there is no preparation for the torture
of emptiness, she chose the echo-therapy,
confirmation that she is on her own,

love has packed his bags and gone.
In the sitting room she sits cocooned,
forgiving herself for being alone.



Janet Dean is from York. Her poems have been placed and shortlisted in national and international competitions, including The Bridport Prize, and published by Templar, Paper Swans, Valley Press and Strix. As Janet Dean Knight her novel The Peacemaker was published in 2019.