Poetry

Bandages

I can fix this

I tell myself every time,

afraid that inaction will guilt me harder,

panicking because I’m sure I can do something – anything –

to help.

But my intentions never turn out how I imagine,

the end is always the end

and I do nothing to delay it.

Sometimes I speed it up.

I can never be sure,

and so as they drift away in my hands

I feel as cold

as if I’d stood still.

Poetry

The kings of our past

Your footprints are swamped by his

no matter how old you get, how tall you grow or how wise.

Because the ghosts will always contort the mirror

so you appear small, a mere cub

hiding in his father’s shadow.

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

Mantle

It’s the weight of this top that’s pulling me down. The fabric

tugs at my arms, my back, my chest, waterlogged even on dry days.

A friend offered to wring it out once, they gave it back to me after an hour

with a haggard look in their eyes. ‘It’s too much. Too much for me

to bear,’ they said. I wasn’t angry. It’s hard, I know.

I’ve tried dying it, changing things up to look more cheerful.

Sewing buttons and toggles, weaving in different threads,

but it never works. It’s never satisfying. Never satisfied.

I know the only way to take it off permanently

is when it disintegrates, but it makes me feel guilty and disloyal

to think like that. It’s been there for me my whole life,

keeping me warm,  protecting me. I should be there for it.

I should. Yet the weight is so much that I can barely move now.

Poetry

35 whispering skulls

The pillars have shattered.

White-hot fire leaps up my skin

surging through every vein, every capillary, every cell.

Cold mist coils around me,

shapeless shadows guilt-trip my actions

as I rush past the sea of dried lavender filled pockets.

I hear my name called.

Sing-songing down the corridor,

trying to distract me from reaching

the thin silver column presenting itself as a door.

I ignore it, and step through

taking the elevator straight up.

Up and up and up.

Poetry

Phone line

I ask you where your eyes

find light – your mouth

falls down the back wall

to the receiver, hanging

limp by its cord, mumbling

love and family like trickles of water

flowing into a drain. Not

a downpour. Perhaps

I should have asked

a different question.

One that you’re more comfortable with?