Two poems by Claire Dyer

French Lessons

I started talking to the cats in French today,
because the silence in the house is astonishing.

Not like the gone-out-back-soon quiet of before
but something that’s yellow and flat

and has no doors in it. And your keys
are gone from the shelf in the hall,

the fridge has begun to look baleful;
its shelves pulse vacancy. Of course it rained –

rain that said I’m not going to stop
and, by the way, it’s the end of summer,

but I watched the road for a while
in case you walked up the drive

with the sun in your pocket.
It would be the size of an orange, and as bright.

So I say Viens, Bonjour and Mon Dieu, il pleut! to the cats.
They stare at me as I look into this silence

that’s yellow and flat and has no doors in it.
(from Eleven Rooms)
Ways of Leaving


She has no idea how to pack
this, this suitcase but

begins with handle, hinge,
some kind of stitching. Inside

is lining: silk like green is,
dust and salt-spray, roof-top

sheets snap-drying. Inside
is Fethiye: its market,

sundrops on glass beads,
windchimes and saffron;

is hot glass, airports
and when they came home.


The day she tried to leave
he left fire on the doorstep –
all tinder, tender, dry leaves
and kindling; a wigwam

of air and the principle of moments
and, when she opened,
walked through, it
warned her, warmed her.
Claire Dyer holds a BA in English and History from the University of Birmingham, an MA in Victorian Literature and Culture from the University of Reading and is currently studying for an MA in Poetry at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her poetry collection, Eleven Rooms is forthcoming from Two Rivers Press in April 2013 and her debut novel, The Moment will be published by Quercus in October 2013.