Winners 2006: First prize

Colette Sensier (Winner)

Varndean College

Country House Communion

Nightly they fold into their separate beds,
naked, their quiet blood the only link,
jumping from pulse to pulse, from room to room.
The daughters lie like lupins on pressed sheets,

naked, their quiet blood the only link.
Through partition walls they hear each other’s heartbeats:
flat and dull like pressed lupins between sheets.
Their parents slumber in a white room down the hall;

through frail skin and bones they touch each other’s heartbeat:
through duvets’ interfaces they still reach…
to find communion through shared sleep.
The parents savour slumber in their white room off the hall.

Through duvets’ interfaces, out they reach;
their thoughts and yearnings rise through muslin curtains
to find communion outside, through sleep.
Outside the dreams condense upon the panes,

their thrills and griefs still cling like dust to muslin curtains.
The family sleeps in paper boxes they call home.
And the youngest daughter talks gibberish in her sleep.
And the eldest lies with one arm above her head…

The family sleeps in paper boxes they call ‘home’;
every night they fold into their beds,
sliding the duvet up over their backs – shaking for a second the wired sleep
that jumps from pulse to pulse, from room to room.