Does it hurt?

You were lying when you said it wouldn’t –
the measles vaccine, the own brand tampon,
rows of dead jellyfish on Dyffryn beach.

Leaving that place to come home each summer,
leaving home at the end of that summer and
never coming back. Mainly the time you were

in the hospital – there was a gift for every day
of your disappearance which only made it worse.
Now I ask myself what would hurt the most –

sketch a choked reading of this inadequate poem
at your funeral, the cleaning of your room when
you’re barely even gone. Plan how I’ll roll myself up

in your deep pile rug, doused in your last bottle
of Anais Anais like a pagan ship burial – and wait.



Ruth Beddow works in the heritage sector by day and writes poems by night. She is interested in the relationship between physical place, home and writing, and has studied with the Poetry School in London for several years. In Summer 2020 she was shortlisted for Write Out Loud’s ‘Beyond the Storm’ competition and had two poems published in their charity anthology.