‘Plait’ by Emma Simon


The trick is to hold three braids in two hands
and ignore the logistics of mornings.
Wind the first over the second, then cross

the third over the first, and so on. Don’t get cross
with excessive fidgeting, or arguments slipping like hoarded minutes out of hand.
Keep a zen-like calm in your fingers. Remember even school mornings

don’t last forever. Focus on this unremarkable Tuesday morning,
the soft nape and collar crease beneath the wonky plait. Let the yin yang of its criss cross
weave a tender magic, like a proverb handed

across the generations, mourning that there is never enough time, or enough hands.
(winner of The Prole Laureate Competition, 2013)
Emma Simon lives in London. She was one of the writers chosen for this year’s Jerwood/ Arvon mentoring scheme. She has had poems published in various publications including Bare Fiction, Popshot, Prole and The Interpreter’s House. She also works as a part-time copywriter. Twitter @SimpleSimonEmma