Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Claire Orchard’s ‘Vacancy’



The chair – beige linen, wingback,

a little light wear where the head rests

and along the arms – sits next to the unmade

bed – rumpled white sheets, cream wool

blanket with a charcoal double stripe.


The lamp – switched on, small, round, bright

orange glass shade – glows on the desk

in the corner where there is another chair – oak,

straight-backed, ladder-backed, pushed in.


The morning sunlight slanting through

the open French windows is touching

all of this but especially highlighting

the filmy white curtains, the thin layer

of dust on the polished floorboards.


Outside, the climber scaling the balcony railings

is mostly thin, leggy stalks now, having lost

almost all its leaves. The open door,

barely visible to one side, is in fact

just the suggestion of an exit.


Claire Orchard


Claire Orchard was born in Wainuiomata, grew up in the Hutt Valley and now lives in Wellington where she completed an MA in Creative Writing at the IIML in 2013. Her first book of poems, Cold Water Cure, was published by VUP in 2016.








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