Fiona Sinclair


The snow forces funeral pace to the hospital.
You have exhausted verbal reassurance so drive
with one hand on the steering wheel
the other gripping mine.
In the silence you plan worse case contingencies.
I am in a Diazepam daze.

Suddenly up Boughton Hill, as if lying in wait,
one magpie ambushes, sailing across the road
to trigger superstition inherited from grandmother, mother,
reinforced by life-times proof it always announces bad luck.
So, to me this must presage an ‘It’s not good news I’m afraid,’
one for sorrow.

Unless: I scan woodland, hedgerows, thickets,
where they generally loiter like yobs round a shop door,
scouring for that characteristic high wire wobble on branches,
my heart yoyoing at pigeons with similar markings.
As we begin to run out of habitat, my search party gaze
becomes desperate as hunting a missing child.

Entering the city, I stack this sign
with all the other unspoken evidence:
my GPs silence after examination
then fast tracking my appointment,
the pain nurse suspicious as a detective ordering thorough
investigation mammogram, ultra-scan, biopsy.

Suddenly, as we make the hospital approach,
a second magpie, straying outside its usual manor,
glides across our path, as if making sure it is clocked.
I clasp like a child’s comforter
this first positive sign for weeks,
Two for joy.

Fiona Sinclair is the editor of the online poetry magazine Message in a Bottle. Her seventh collection will be published in August by Smokestack. She lives in a village in Kent with her husband and an imaginary dog.

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