When I iron the white cotton shirts, slide creases
from collar, cuff and tail, I weigh the heft and fullness
of a changing power.
The dragon noses mother of pearl, and her hot breath
insinuates the twisted threads which swell
and straighten as she sighs.
My mind spins graveyard nettles, and I
am the sister of swans, accused, condemned and bound
in silence, intent on my task.
Each sleeve, a spread wing, offers hope.
Then he dons the white shirt, puts on
the power suit and quiet socks; he knots a careful tie
and slips his feet into immaculate brogues.
I would be Leda to his Jove.
(This poem won the 2007 Barnet Open Poetry Competition, judged by Fleur Adcock. I see that it is online on the Barnet Arts website without any formatting, so I thought I’d post it here as it should appear.)