At Rotherham


Mary Appleby’s night-dress
is snagged on a rock below Rotherham Bridge
and has caught the attention of Police Sergeant Ireland
who’s been up all night and is crossing the bridge
to the Masbro side. Four hours ago
he was running up Bridgegate in the black and rain
and the river (he thought) set to flood the town out.
As he stops the stink catches in his throat.
For the past four hours
the river’s been rocking Mary Appleby’s
body out of her night-dress. From Rotherham Bridge
Sergeant Ireland can’t see this and turns
on his way, his still wet notebook
holding the night’s dead close to his chest.
Mary Appleby’s body is later recovered
from a flooded garden and wheeled
to the station on a creaking cart.
Police Sergeant Ireland has finished his shift
and has fallen asleep at the kitchen table –
with his tea in his hand, his wife later said
(though she kept to herself how she gently
undressed him and got him to bed.)

 

__________________________

Rob Hindle

 


From 'Some Histories of the Sheffield Flood, 1864' (Templar, 2006)

Rob Hindle's publications are 'Some Histories of the Sheffield Flood 1864' (Templar, 2006), 'Neurosurgery in Iraq' (Templar, 2008) and 'The Purging of Spence Broughton, a Highwayman' (Longbarrow, 2009). A new collection, 'Yoke and Arrows', is due out in February 2014 with Smokestack Books. He lives and works in Sheffield.