in the comfort of cotton too hot
in the sanctuary of these four walls
pristine like the underside of a clamshell,
the trees framed by the window are
nothing more than an artist’s rendering.
there is more to be done here:
the cracked cranium, the leaky sink
the chipped bed-frame, the dust-
oh the dust is everywhere, multiplying,
born of things decaying.
like clockwork i make the rounds
spiralling inwards indefinitely.
i live by the sliver of sun,
the flickering bulb as i chase
my shadow friends
i am the eye of a storm,
snapping branches- my arms!
Crouched, fearsome, lioness!
Stitching together your mother’s clothes,
spear-heading into the unknown
with nimble fingers and a triumphant smile.
You say: we have won, daughters,
collecting trauma like trophies,
like charms dangling round your wrist.
You beat your chest, soft as pillows,
roaring at the moon:
For your sunshine, my daughter,
I rise again.
rubber rolls –
the butcher’s best!
heaving slabs of
a collar of spit
a beggar’s garb,
mucous fingers and
pancake batter for arms
there’s room in the pit,
a boulder in my chest,
i am worried for this spirit
so thin you could not hold it.
my love might not be a showering of words
but a slow, observant eye.
it is not ‘i love you’
so much in letters
as in a splash of colour.
it is the every day,
the clapping of your heels,
almost imperceptible nods,
when you Google-searched the difference
between baked and roasted salmon.
I want to be in control of how I feel
because I’m still angry and I hate anger
and I hate that you’re the reason –
didn’t I always want to be a strong girl
who can love without flinching,
a smart girl who can pick her own battles
but I’m hurt every time I hope for the best in you
and I’m losing when it’s not a game,
worse still because I see your goodness –
just not in the way I need it most.
I envy how you compartmentalize me,
minimize me, set me aside as if for paint to dry
until you decide to miss me, us, our something.
But as much as it would diminish the hurt,
I would not trade it for how cruel you can be.
In another life
You tousle his hair and it’s strangely light
— a dirty blonde. Must have skipped a generation.
And you refer to him as “buddy”.
It is a dream that I spit on for its
cheesy fucking sentiments.
I want to be sweet to you.
Then I want to delete you.
You call for me.
Then you leave me.
You must be tired, too.
You know when your body tells you something and you can’t read it? Like, when you’re craving coffee does this mean ‘more’ or does this mean ‘rest’? It’s like walking along with your earphones in and snapping your neck at the sound of a siren, forgetting for a moment that it’s part of the song. Like, when you roll out of bed with him and you wonder: is this lust or love? Do I hate the professor or do I hate the challenge? And then you decide that this is it, this is the reason. “I’m just on my period” and the room is silenced. She taps you on the shoulder and cocks her head. “Hey, why aren’t you outside with the rest of us?” She hands you a beer. “I don’t know, I just want to be alone for a bit”. And it’s the perfect answer for the chronically inadequate. It’s like going vegan because you believe the body should be meatless. Do you know what it’s like to eat plenty but still feel empty?