In the balance (From "Jam in Aisle 3")
Fifteen floors up inside a firm of lawyers,
a young woman straddles the window sill.
She’s wearing work: black striped suit, tied hair.
It only takes seconds to be tipped off balance.
Is she suffocated by a cloak of failure,
strangled by memory, stalked by debt?
Are pressures closing in around her?
A shadow approaches from inside;
she tenses as tightly as a drawn wire,
then starts, shifts, lifts the other leg.
Far below, taxis nip in and out of the evening.
Light fades as somewhere, not too far,
someone who cares adds Burgundy to the
boeuf bourguignon he thinks they’ll share.
© Nicky Phillips 2017
Nicky Phillips grew up in Hertford and now lives in a village in East Herts. She qualified as a bilingual secretary in the seventies, since when her work has stretched from a High Commission on Trafalgar Square to an arable and beef farm/estate in Hertfordshire. She also works as a proofreader.
Nicky’s poems have been widely published in magazines, anthologies and online, including: Algebra of Owls; Brittle Star; Ink, Sweat & Tears; SOUTH; South Bank Poetry; Snakeskin; The Book of Love and Loss (Belgrave Press, 2014); Heart Shoots, an anthology in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2013).
In 2017 a poem of hers, “The nearly I hope will last a while longer” was nominated for the Best Single Poem category of the Forward Prizes.