Mary Anne Perkins

An Unexpected Gift

We didn’t bother with introductions.
Coming from nowhere you fell in step
(perhaps two of yours to one of mine)
and began a chat about jelly fish.

As I write my other hand enfolds
the warm holed stone you pressed
without comment into my palm:
the best of your treasure trove.

A boy two sizes bigger led you away,
his manners salted with wariness
and a sideways stare. In a year or two
you’ll match that carefulness.

Your stone is never cold –
I carry it with me. One never knows
when a stranger might need a friend.

Mary Anne Perkins, a retired historian of ideas, moved to North Tyneside from London in 2011. She enjoys readings and workshops within the local area and at Newcastle University’s Centre for the Literary Arts. Her collection, Shadow-Play, won the Indigo Dreams Summer  Collection competition (2009). She had three poems shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2007, 2010), was a runner-up in the Fish Publishing Poetry Prize (2008).