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Olivia Smith
Olivia Smith is a writer, researcher and teacher interested in natural history, domestic space and still life.

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Dear Sir,   I think about that smile you gave me in the sun and I wanted to explain why I had dirt on my face   The night before at 11 pm my husband, sitting on the sofa, had said there was a bird in the chimney and/but/and he wasn’t going to do anything about it   (When I say the chimney we live in a rented house and instead of a fireplace we have a thick piece of board which is painted over and stuck down with gloss paint)   I looked it up on my computer and it gave the two obvious choices: get the bird out or leave it to die The option of leaving it to die was gone into in some detail and how long it would take to decompose and the specifics of the smell I went to bed and immediately fell asleep   In the morning the children woke up and I took them down for breakfast (I should say the house is very small so breakfast is right by the boarded-up fireplace which contained this bird) By this point I could hear sounds like a person’s coat when they stop right outside your front door, before they knock   shwww shwww   Or if they’ve stopped there for another reason and aren’t going to knock   I put on the radio and got the children ready, and then we walked to school   On the way back I did think that if I saw you I might just confess the whole thing But what could I say to make it sound appealing? Watch me smash something then perhaps we could have a little walk   sir   When I got home the bird was moving in the still house, living in the wall, my husband having already left for work In the basement I found a broad flat tool like a metal version of an ice- scraper for a car windscreen and I used this and a hammer to slowly break in the edges of the board   While I was doing this I thought of a book I had read in which the writer remembered her mother rescuing
20 Metres

Prize Entry

May 2020

Olivia Smith


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