Unwanted by Allen Ashley




Allen Ashley is President Elect of the British Fantasy Society. His most recent book is the poetry collection Echoes from an Expired Earth (Demain Publishing, 2020). He has previously appeared four times on the Words for the Wild website.































Put on a fake smile,

gush thankfully, “It’s just

what I wanted.” Already

planning to secrete

it at the bottom

of the wardrobe before

seeing if Sue Ryder

or British Heart

will take it off

your pale hands.


Concentrated smile, fierce

attention, this is your specialist

event and really

you should be in

the medals if you pull out

a personal

best performance

on the local sand track

in front of a tiny

crowd in the  rain.

Set. Go.


Put on a brave smile

try to take in the details

of shadows on X-rays

and worrying blood 

tests and biopsies

added to a cluster

of symptoms that befell

your father, your mother, your

uncle. It’s a gift.

From biology. No

surprise, it runs

in the family.



Allen Ashley


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