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by Paul Taylor-McCartney

marker ribbons of

unfinished books;

pantry of

half-filled cereal packets;

freezer of sliced bread,

each bleached face quite blank;

marmalade jar,

a few rinds still hidden, intact,

preserved in an amber resin;

a lost age


at the exact point

you left the world.

re-order your

cutlery drawer,

bring it back in line.

for you craved symmetry,

a line meeting a line,

rug edge against a skirting board,

so neat and purposeful,

the orderliness of ruthless logic –

young girl fresh in from grammar school

where they taught girls in lines,

by rote and by rule.

there are numerous clocks,

of course,

marking the steady rhythm of

those lengthy, sunset hours –

defiling and defying

the chaos of loss,

which I thought would

forever follow me about

like a pet mongrel …

… but that has passed now –

shock and awe

giving way to direction,


otherworldly intuition.

one is everywhere and nowhere,

you laugh,

whatever you imagine it to be, it is exactly that

and I suspect you’ve

come to rehearse

your latest role:




part whole.

About the Author

Paul Taylor-McCartney is a doctoral researcher with Leicester University, following a part-time PhD in Creative Writing. His interests include dystopian studies, children’s literature and initial teacher education. His poetry, short fiction and academic articles have appeared in a range of notable UK and international publications including Aesthetica, The Birmingham Journal of Language and Literature, Education in Practice (National Association of Writers in Education), Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine and Dyst: A literary Journal. He lives and works in Cornwall, (UK).

You can find out more about him by visiting:

One comment on “Unfinished

  • Grief Dialogues Blog
    April 14, 2021 | 6:07 pm

    […] general, and then also to talk about the particular poems that we’ve published on our site, The Unfinished and The […]

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