More than ‘structurally unsafe’ by S.A. Leavesley


S.A. Leavesley is an award-winning poet, fiction writer and journalistOverton Poetry Prize winner 2015, her pamphlet, How to Grow Matches, was published by Against the Grain Press in 2018. She has been published by the Financial Times and The Guardian, on Worcestershire buses and in the Blackpool Illuminations. An occasional climber and surfer, she also loves swimming, cycling, walking and being outdoors.

















When fire blazed through Knowledge Hotel,

three storeys collapsed inside, reduced

within hours to smoke and shivers.


Graffiti claimed the ragged brickwork.

Mould seized the corners. Feathered things

moved into the charred rafters.


Burnt beams and broken windows host

dawn parties for daredevil skydivers.

Woodlice, rats and damp own the cold shadows.


At night, echoes of running feet,

gusts of ice wind through cracked walls,

beating wings that aren’t owls.


Small-town street-talk blames ghosts,

but it’s most likely doped-up kids.

No one likes to mention the other sounds:


strange fragments of music that quiver

on the air, then gone – a Pied Piper

shrilling to the lost. We gather again


at the doorway, our children’s names

wedged in our throats. We call

for the wild to be returned to the wild.



S.A. Leavesley




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Seasonal Adjustment Order  by S.A. Leavesley

New Build Poems and Stories