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On Not Leaving the House All Day


The leather sofa never unsaddled me

from dawn to this late dusk.

I cowered under my books’ verticalities

and watched the windowsill make its shadowplay

on the closed yellow curtains.

In the lit world, the scaffolders married

each shackle and pole with a screamy bolting.

Everything I was used to doing seemed wrong.

It’s not grief, I am not that kind of claimant.

Underneath my skin I was writing a message to you:

not so much a howl as a business plan.

I’d already sent it long ago in triplicate

from a newer body than this slumped shape

waxing the sofa with her unbathed sebum.

I’m still ordering cone wool off the internet.

It comes greased. We unwind together.



Judy Brown works as a poetry mentor. She was previously a Poet-in-Residence at the Wordsworth Trust, and has taught workplace writing for the Royal Literary Fund, as well as working as Finance Lawyer in London, and in Hong Kong for four years. Her publications include Crowd Sensations (Seren, 2016) and Loudness (Seren, 2011).


Carol Ann Duffy says: Judy Brown’s ‘On not leaving the house all day’ is another unusual love poem, approached from a hyper-real angle. I like the spiky humour of the ‘business plan’ created by a ‘newer body’, and the message written ‘underneath my skin’, skin that is slumped, unwashed, ‘waxing the sofa’.


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