Guilford: a possible plausible town,
your red Victorian bays perched for a balcony view.
I see myself in your window,
alone and able,
parlour plant and white scrubbed table,
bicycle parked in the hall,
books and papers in control.
I'd set off early into school.
Guilford, I'd never feel guilty about staying,
nor ever leave from your choice platforms.
This way or that, Guilford, you would
be enough.
In summer, your willow river and pub,
in winter, the happy bars of polished girls
with their blond hair and prosecco.
I'd walk with a stick to your market
after my decades of faith to you,
wear a black wool respectable coat,
not this fly-by cagoule.
I see you now, that possible, plausible life,
In that town where I never became a wife,
or flew off on the hint given in a dream,
to a shadowy shore in a far place.
Guilford, you were always here.
I lived you once. Perhaps I still do.

Heather Gatley

Heather Gatley is a retired English Literature teacher. Born in Cyprus to British parents, she has lived and worked all over the world.  She currently resides in Taipei. Relatively new to publishing, her work has appeared in the online magazine, Proximity, volume 1; Scarlet Leaf Review; The Carmarthen Journal and Centered on Taipei.

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