Enter: a shadow, the basement

of a person, painted solid by their ledger.

Hushing for silence

that doesn’t exist.

The audience sees it clearly under the bright stage lights,

but its owner is blind.

They feel so transparent, they’re not even sure they have a shadow anymore.

It sneaks up behind

and photographs them, panoramic view,

and leaves the print at their feet.

Evidence. Opaque as can be.


The Graveyard Visit

The grass blades are rapiers

doused in mercury.

I choose to walk with dragon-scale shoes

to that soft mound

covering the stone I’ve looked on so often.


I remember you next to me, bright eyes.


Remember the heat of your breath on my neck,

the charge to your fur that would crack blue

if I wasn’t careful,

scolding my fingers.


The thud of paws still vibrates through the ground

with every step away

I take.


Ink blot

My heart is an inkwell, each beat

sending rivers through my veins

that stain my nails black, every

second nearing me to the moment

I’ll run dry; full colour pages

getting fainter and fainter with each sheet.

Every time I am naive enough

to believe that I’ll never exhaust myself,

that I can keep up the image

projected in front of my face,

my fingertips blacken and all that I am

drips off them to the ground,

trodden down and kicked easily

aside by those who are so trained to follow along

that they never even notice I’ve crumpled.

I want to speak up, but my mouth

and my brain are so disconnected

I can only do it when someone takes the time

to give me a pen and paper,

and I can let my blood pour out and form itself into words,

hoping, simply hoping,

that they’ll finally understand.



For my missing sock; the remaining one will never forget you.

To the monster in the attic who always made me run to the bathroom.

In memory of all the balloons I’ve accidentally let go of.

For the secret agents who secretly cheer me on.

To the elderly gentleman who waves his walking stick at me everyday. What a friendly guy!


Wiped clean

There are times I look up and find the sky absent. The screen is off, no background to display. My hands immediately try to find the power button, encased in cardboard boxes filled with drippings of life. I suspect moisture is making the circuit trip up like a gangly teen with flapping shoelaces. But I can never bring myself to tear out the heart to have a look. Maybe I’m just too soft. Or maybe, there’s actually a part of me that enjoys the absence overhead.



My foot

pounds down on the road.

The impact charges up my leg,

vibrating muscle, fat and skin.

The other leg comes down

and the force pushes the ground to breaking;

it can’t even breathe.


The weight of will

wishing to beat it from my mind

is heavy.


I gasp.

I gulp.

I drink in the air

and the wind cries with me,

flying by my side.


My strong legs can’t go on forever.

Eventually, the track will loop on itself

and I’ll end up back

where it all began.


I can picture it now;

myself a spectator of myself.

Watching from the start,

cringing at the beginning,

then appreciating the work it took

to build the foundations

I have now.


I cannot run for eternity.

But planets don’t stand still, either.


To the teacher who broke me

There are certain days,

like those mornings just after a heavy downpour

where the scent of pollen and damp soil

mix to form that sickly, sweet smell,

and the sun comes out to create mocking shadows –

yes, days like those –

when nostalgia kicks in and I’m thrown

back to primary school,

clutching my satchel and walking into the playground

where all the other kids play without care

or squabble about nothing.


I sit on my own and watch.


Then the whistle blows

and she comes out, asking

us to line up.

A severe face carved

with severe eyes

and an even severer mouth,

but only when her gaze is turned to me.

Everyone else sees the smiling, caring mask

that tricks them into false security.

She speaks to them with soothing words,

but for me?

For me she leans in so that her severe face

is barely an inch from my own terrified one,

releasing the full roar of her lungs

into my ears.


I’m frightened.


I know she’s watching me,

waiting for me to tell someone about her.

I try to hide it,

but soon the dread consumes me.

I am physically sick at the idea

of facing her again,

seeing the rage build up in her eyes

when I ask even a simple question.


My parents grow concerned.

They talk with her –

she gives them the smiling mask –

and when they leave,

she rounds on me,

raging on

until I am no smaller

than a pebble in her wake.


My face is wet.

I can’t see;

I don’t want to see.

A hand gently touches my shoulder:

it’s time to speak up.

Tell them

what’s really troubling you.

Tell them the truth

about her.


I do.


Three weeks later,

she is gone.

Never to return.


Her voice is still there

in my mind.

It’s always there,

and so is the fear.


But now I can choose to ignore it.