Poetry

Skeleton

‘Hold out your hands,’ she says

and places the silver key on my palms,

it fits across both perfectly. ‘It can

open any door you choose, anywhere.

Keep it close, always.’

 

So I swallow the key. Safe in my belly

it stays, and safe from my memory

until every door I face

declares it’s locked.

 

It can’t be. It can’t be.

 

The memory stirs and I try to regurgitate.

It doesn’t work, and the doors laugh.

 

From inside me, the key calls out.

Unlock.

 

The doors are silenced by my voice.

I swallowed the key

and became it.

 

Poetry

Grave Digger

it approaches,

dusk creeping into my skin

but i’m not ready to sleep yet.

i can’t be petrified and forget

the smell of petrichor

as i walk through the long grass

in the mornings.

if it were another’s words

there would be no question that i would fight

but the fractal, small measurement of tar

blocking my ability

to raise fists,

forces me to kneel down and weep

as earth is piled over me.

Poetry

Trauma

it’s a shadow in my brain

a lurking, creeping, whispering thing

that doesn’t shy from light

but swallows it

if I do nothing

if I do nothing

if I do nothing

it will block me in. block, block, block

if I step into it, let it feed off me

and find my blood is its poison

my pulse is its poison

my heart is its poison. beat, beat, beat

it will shrivel up

and become nothing more than a stamp-sized portrait

reminding me that it rules

no longer

a memo note

it happened, it happened

but still I can stride

 

Poetry

Silhouette in water

I can’t inhale the salt anymore,

I’ve become immune to it.

The course crystals on my tongue

might be grains of sand, fragments of places

history has long forgotten.

They’ve found me, and I am alive.

So they are alive.

The faces in the ocean, bloated, pale,

give me envious looks.

I chose to swim away on my own,

they chose to stay.

Refused the fresh air

so they could mingle, lungs full

of false laughter and smoke.

Mine are clean.

Poetry

Keep sake

My heart is a trinket box

previously filled with costume jewellery

lovely in its own way

but I have sensitive skin

and you know how metals react with sensitive skin

over time.

 

I wore it often

thinking that I always would

claiming the style matched my own

even on days it turned my skin green

or threw up a rash.

 

It wasn’t until after a decade had passed

that it occurred to me I’d been avoiding

the obvious truth.

No matter how much I adored it

it was not a true match.

We weren’t compatible

in the way I thought

and gradually it had spilt out of my heart-box

leaving me empty.

 

Empty

enough to be filled

with something truly precious.

Not a trinket

not a necklace

not another box.

 

A living beating pulsing heart.

My own.

Poetry

If only to see you

I’ve got eyes on my hands and they’re watching you.

They’re watching you even when I’m not.

I can’t stand to, you broke me.

Buried me under rags made to look like fine silk,

curse words uttered so sweetly they might be compliments,

palms to my cheek masquerading as gentle caresses.

I can see that change in your eyes

even when I don’t care to look.

Notice your posture straighten, lips purse.

I can look away, but the eyes on my hands

stay focused, recording your every move.

Frequency; time, date. Evidence.

Poetry

Know, friend.

The sofa in your attic room

is a long slab of dough;

I sink into it every time

I visit.

 

I melt into the fibers

and hide there

until the storm

has passed over our heads –

 

the rage of alcohol

infects the whole street,

though the radiation-green trail

is a red-handed print from my house.

 

You tell me I can’t stay here

forever.

They’ll find me anyway,

better to turn myself in.

 

Part of me thinks you’re right.

Maybe my years of hiding

are over.

I’m supposed to be an adult soon, anyway.

 

Do adults really run

from their family?

You say you don’t know;

you’ve never had one.

 

I look at you, confused.

An empty room

stares back.