Green Room by Marjorie Gill

Finally, when there is nothing left

in the trunk, the clothing passed out

among siblings and cousins in moments

of common sense, she leaves the lid open

so the scent of the child’s belongings

will fade, so she won’t be tempted

to put her head inside that box to breathe.


Then she decides to paint the room,

chooses the child’s favourite grass green,

and can only manage one coat. The cracks

in the woodwork glare at her like honesty.


She stamps a hole in the suitcase.


But she can’t change the bedding;

its grey blankets still convey

the child’s limbs. If only, like tea leaves

in a china cup, she’d read the pillows

that morning and barred the door.

Now, she knows their pattern,

only needs to close her eyes

to see them, crumpled, with a space

left open for her head.



Marjorie Gill

Unmade Lewis photo credit Ian Paterson
Unmade Lewis photo credit Ian Paterson