In the warp and weft of her memory’s map,
fault-lines frayed through life’s unfolding,
time-zones have tangled. Sri Lanka is still Ceylon
and the bomb-razed house on Tyneside stands unscathed,
laughter leaking from its dance-swept floors
into the care home’s cold communal lounge
where fellow refugees, washed up like flotsam,
sit marooned in mute confusion.
Her fingertips trace the firm contours of youth:
hills spring into sharp relief, prickly
with vanilla-scented gorse; the petit-point
of a Durham bridleway unravels at her touch
as she walks its dusty, dung-cratered paths.
Cajoling her to cocoa-laced oblivion,
the SatNav- smooth voice of the night nurse
slips out of signal range: in a deft manoeuvre
she detours to sip cocktails with her Vancouver cousins
then quicksteps til dawn in a flush of rose silk.
Sneaking back over the wrinkled, ink-smudged ocean
lines of lassitude betray her reckless peregrinations.
Judges Comments: "Lines of Longitude offers a fresh slant on a somewhat overexposed subject. Though her body is marooned in the monotony of a care home lounge, this old lady’s mind is free to travel across both decades and continents, following the vivd map of her memory- where, perhaps,she finds more comort than in the cocoa proffered by the smoothly spoken night nurse."