Welcome to my website, where you can find out about my published work, other projects and collaborations and my work as a teacher/mentor.

Here’s a poem from my 2012 collection, Otherwhere (Smith Doorstop):


Because you promised
to process his application for
the caretaker’s position
as quickly as possible,
he’s including you,
nightly, in his prayers.

He rings next morning,
to check; you assure him
the paperwork’s in order.
He tells you he’ll include
your parents and brothers
in his prayers.

That night you imagine him
kneeling on the floor
in a bed-sit in Hounslow,
the sour orange glow
from a streetlight
seeking out his tight hands.

When he rings you
two days later, he sounds tired.
His prayers, he tells you,
take him a long time.

There’s his own family
to consider – his wife
who longs to join him,
his brother whose feet
still suppurate from
after the arrest,
the beatings. His country,
he tells you, is a place
where bad men come
in the night. And

the nightmares, still.
From now on, he’ll be including
your aunts, cousins,
surviving grandfather,
friends, in his prayers.

Next morning you wake
in a room flooded with sunlight,
drink hot tea and hope
his lips aren’t cracked –

and when he rings
he apologizes for bothering you,
but tells you again
how much this job
would mean.

This job. You are
a kind English lady,
and tonight in his prayers
he’ll include, lady,
your future husband,
and your future babies,
if you are so blessed.


Catherine Smith