York Amnesty Creative Writing Competition 2021 "Locked" — RESULTS

lock on a wooden door

The Results of the Writing Competition


Sprung ~ Sarah Winwin Sein

Heavy doors clang shut
I stand on the outside
rucksack hung from one shoulder
blue faded tracksuit, now baggy
face sallow from lack of sun
mouth pinched with caution.

Pause to breathe the snowchill morning
acrid fumes jar as cars roar
overwhelming nose, eyes, ears.
I take a first step
from the soot dark gates
towards the railway station.

Buying a ticket brings tears, as
I try to make sense of the
small coins in my palm.
I slide into a corner seat
surreptitiously alert,
I watch fellow passengers

a badly shaved businessman
toast crumbs fall askew into his laptop;
a smooth dark skinned woman
applies make-up with assured hand;
a young sharp faced man on the phone
“are you in the office yet?”

I shrink from these anonymous intimacies
but no-one pays attention
to an unobtrusive imposter.

The hostel is oddly welcoming
straight lines and shiny walls,
my room not much bigger than a cell.
I wonder if they know why I’m here?

The window catch is stiff
opens jerkily with an upwards push.
I lean out as far as I can
taking a deep deep breath,
the scent of dank lush earth
sets my rusty senses in motion

frail seedlings sprout ghostlike
from crumbled ground
trees bud fatly into warming air -
a green wave breaks against my stirring heart
freedom in springtime.