Saturday, 17 February 2018

Waste items

She wakes in the disused doorway

of what used to be BHS, eyes slumped

like sleeping bags. A laminated sign

is tacked to the small mound

of everything she has left

courtesy of Bristol Waste, stating

that these items will be discarded

if they are not removed

within twenty four hours. She places it

on the pavement,

next to her board selling dreamcatchers

to passers-by, picks up

the two pounds forty in coppers

lining her damp guitar case

and with gloved but shaking hands

begins her accusing song.

© Penny Shutt

Dr Penny Shutt is a poet and psychiatrist from Cornwall. She writes about mental health, medicine and motherhood after recently becoming a foster mum to her nephew. Some of her poems can be found at and she tweets @drpennyshutt