Alex Mepham’s poem was shortlisted in the Best Single Poem category for the Disabled Poets Prize 2024.
The winners will be announced on 16 March 2024, during Deptford Literature Festival, in an online event.
© Alex Mepham 2024
It was at the age of twelve when I first met him
beneath the underpass. He watched me in the mornings
walking across the linear park. But he waited
until the time was right. One afternoon after a spring rain
he stopped me, brought me to the bank of the brook
and revealed to me what I could become: my white school shirt
a sodden paper plane, striped tie floating and unrestrained.
I could take any form I wanted, or even none at all.
It was easy, he said. And I could make it happen at any moment,
whenever the time was right. I took one step into the murky flow
and he was gone, hushed in the hew of the highway.
At first I was afraid of what he taught my hands to do
and undo. But steadfast he would return, not only by water
but by trains, in bottle shops, and through the chattering of my
kitchen knives. Yes, I have grown to know him. I know him very well.