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THE SHED, BY ADAM STAFFORD

The elderly lady
could not afford central heating
so, between December
and into February
she hardly left contentment
of the large bed
and the blankets, unwashed
since her husband's
expiration

The letters went unopened
as a result, the phone lines
ceased
and the damp spread
across the large hall wall
like a pulpy brown rash
in same discolouration
as the ulcers under
her thighs
as the first-blush piss
in the manky potty
over there

It had come to
her attention, one morning
whilst boiling the pan
that there was perhaps
a man
living in her shed

In the evening a
figure moved across
the window in the wavering
beam, the single-paned
window permeated in
condensation
sounds of faint weeping
may have originated
from the squatter or
perhaps a
concupiscent fox

It took her a further
four days of close
perusal
before she bravely stepped
outside to greet
the uncertain presence,
minding her slippered feet
on the icy path
carrying a torch
and a bowl of porridge

Hello, she projected
in her best voice

there came no reply
and the puny sound of
her slippers dragging
along the frost, amplified
to the corners of the
large garden

As she neared
the figure became more
apparent through the
gap in the shed's door

Definitely male
attenuated
afflicted

He looked like death

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