Eliot North

The Woman Sells Heather

Raking damp leaves out the front
The scrape of wire on gravel,
Autumns chill creeps inside me.

Yellow Marigolds, Black Sac.

I don’t want to be here, not now.
This is not the kind of job
A girl like me should be doing.

UCAS forms, Medicine Calls.

She walks up to me out of the mist,
The old woman stooped with age
Carrying something in her hand.

Sharp Eyes, Horse Chestnut.

“Good day my dear,” she says.
I stop raking and she passes me
Something green, wrapped in foil.

Burnt Peat, Falling Rain.

“It’s lucky heather. Will you buy it?”
I know this is a sign. I’ve read
Jane Eyre, my head is full of it.

Purple Flower, Cursed Timing.

“Shoo,” I hear my mother call out.
From the house she charges over,
I roll my eyes and the woman sees.

Mother Pride, Daughter Shame.

“I’m fine. It’s just some heather.”
The look she gives the woman
Would be funny, if it wasn’t so tragic.

Family Ties, Wretched Genes.

“We don’t want your heather.
Go away.” My face reddens and I
Look at the woman, mouth ‘SORRY.’

Stony Look, Half Smile.

“Ah that’s fine. I was only talking
To your Granddaughter here.”
A snort of laughter escapes me.

Red Face, Vanishing Mist.

I relish my mother’s fury as the
Woman walks away, a little taller,
And I rake leaves with new energy.

Eliot North is a writer, doctor and medical educator who lives and works in the North East of England. She won the EuroStemCell Poetry Competition 2013 and was commended for the Hippocrates Poetry Prize 2014. Last year she was commended for the National Poetry Competition with her poem 'The Crab Man', which she made into a Filmpoem with artist and filmmaker Alastair Cook. She writes prose and poetry, has been published in Firewords Quarterly, Structo and Ink, Sweat and Tears.

Eliot North is a writer, doctor and
medical educator who lives and
works in the North East of England.
She won the EuroStemCell Poetry
Competition 2013 and was
commended for the Hippocrates
Poetry Prize 2014. Last year she
was commended for the National
Poetry Competition with her poem
‘The Crab Man’, which she made
into a Filmpoem with artist and
filmmaker Alastair Cook. She
writes prose and poetry, has been
published in Firewords Quarterly,
Structo and Ink, Sweat and Tears.