What Nicola Knows
Worrying about Nicola Sturgeon’s sleep
keeps me awake the night before the general election.
Three to four hours a night, she tells us on the radio.
I wake at three, wondering if she’s up.
I get her sorted: Vote first thing, then pep talks
for candidates. The afternoon’s for sleep.
She slips off her stilettos, lies fully clothed
on the bed’s shiny cover. Her tights crackle with static.
In her dream she’s riding a long-legged horse
through an avenue of trees. She’s so high up,
she can’t hear the men who are holding the reins.
One is chastising the horse for stopping.
But Nicola doesn’t mind how fast or slow she goes.
She’s never seen inside the canopy of trees before.
She’s surprised to find that she can identify each one –
elm, beech, ash. Birds too – chiffchaff, bullfinch.
When Nicola wakes, she feels more real than ever.
She knows the names of trees and birds, knows
she’ll recognise them in the flesh. No need to speak.
She’s got their names stored inside her head.
Kate Hendry is a writer and editor living in Edinburgh. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in many magazines including Agenda, The Manchester Review, The North and The Rialto. Her first collection of poems will be published by Happenstance Press next year. Her website is www.katehendry.net