page breaks define one year
Woke up in day clothes. Belt buckle imprinted on stomach skin - looked like a railing. The sound of morning big and fed well. The sun is death always. Too painful to look at. Breakfast was warm. Woke up today with the light. Cement and pavements crumbled underneath car tyres. The world is going inside, chewing the cheek. Sink holes down the street. Tooth ache. Neighbours begin building new life in moving van. Cat licks tuna can. Every house turns on the telly. Go to bed to tell lies in text messages. Cereal from chipped ceramic. Ceiling impending. Wake up fully clothed. Breakfast disgusting. Pain in toes. Falling. Walls just disaster framing. Bed. Offal choking, game plucking body of the nighttime kind, crawling through the gutter of the large intestine after soaking up the sauces on a plate earlier this evening. Undoing button on the waist band. Undress and fold. Scrape off the mold. Inside bedsheet, the mole buries home to the middle of the earth. Wake up to the shovel, sleep to the shovel, burying a home for the bit that’s labelled forever. There were old skin suits at the beach, left out by wind breaks and baskets of food. The puckering, stuttering shape of them breathing like towels in the sand and weather. I think to the sea, look onwards at bodies in backlit juice of summers last forced wheeze and I dream of shedding. Old people unzipping their years and stepping out to dip into old waters, joint together in mutual, slippery joints and movement, running to the line where the sea becomes not quite. Their mortgage and retirement, heavy tired bodies fly winded in a pile like you imagine a coat folded on the seas side would lie, and in the water they bob about the waves. They drop into talking about the ways things are. Into talking about the ways things will be. Their skin is taught to dimble into wrinkles after hours in brine, and they squawk at the seagulls that walk so effortlessly callous and sly towards dinner - legs like a creeping hand under a table, with a secret. I wake up to feel my body bathed in salt and dusted in revolting dreams. The sense for myself coming through. Who I will be at the beach –– older and gleaming with time as a marvel. Every day being pudding to savour. The sun going into the trees like some friend to meet after the dark comes carefully. Blinking the sand away, the older people step out and into their old dimpled skin. Outside on the balcony with blanket and jumper on of jam and currant maybe, bobbled with fruit. Pronounce my love like a recited childhood poem learned at school between the bites and bars of chewing. Every word rehearsed with memory of the days in sun with jewelled delicious halving, tearing in two. Golden, gleaming with cream whipped up over. On the plate, teeth sugar coated and then a well timed drop of delicious British rain that hits the leaves in their Autumn welcome. Wimbledon. Picnics. Benches and Plates. Tea. Cake. Grandmothers. Gingham. The season breathing down our necks, a little later than anticipated as the clouds beat on over the crumbling, rumbling sun. She walks with air in her, light on her soles. She points to pictures of fish in waters. Streets with cobblestones. She tells him to look out, taste the colours in big, dripping, juicy gulps and report back the symbols and signs and price of sold things three times the price of a home in the village that’s painted inside. His eyes are wide at the world he’s walking, walls bright and gleaming. Walls that were empty of meaning before today. Closed doors and ticket stalls and frightening, big worded, turgid. He photographs Basqiat. Hates the Monet. Growls just a bit at the sight of a Kle. Chuckles at Cezanne. Cries at Kusama. Eats the last of his lunch after watching a Sciamma. Questions the Twombly, says it’s too easy. Tries it at home and stops and questions it all. Big thoughts in bright painted colours, matted clay forming argument, wired, small, small, small ideas cracked open. He sees the world painted out in shared, hanging, plinthed perfect awe at the more heavy, buried weight of it all. Gold and red dotted, sold. Money for making it up, making it out of nothing at allBare eyes and bare bellies and bare fridges. No warm bowls or ovens, and in holey purses, only coins. Lunch and much for missing once a serving spoon comes round. Near, on small screens, fork and knife sounds, kissing dinner of gold and goodness and neighbours houses roundness, fullness- all while fridges growl bare again and again. No offer sparing sales. Only bags of soiled bread. Halving, sharing, dreading bed on barren bellies. Pronouncing rounded, missing dinner. Slurring, growling, skimming over, speaking improper while soup is cooling in a cul de sac or bungalow or one-up-one-down home where more children sleep, packed in. Buy one, pick one free from choice. Beggars in aisles and choosers smiling gnashers, gliding over opulence and pudding. A new scoop or slice, more second helpings. Common as muck, speaking in skipping English and digging in on war-like dishes. Chucking remainders down bin-bags for foxes shredding. Weddings priced up over a land of feeding small ones. Wrapping up and opening fresh, new, delicious food while hands bare of change scrape up barren feeding - looking onwards, regarding greed and blind chewing. Too full of colour and brush strokes to fit in a bread roll or other plate anyway. The art on the wall is enough. It’s warm outside, Italian summer, and we are eating up the colours on the walls with greedy eyes bigger than our bellies that fit all sorts of delicacies inside them. If we close lids and turn our necks at once, there’s enough relief to digest, to take it all in, gorgeous gorging gorging gorging. Forcing down one family portrait from another farm landscape. Provincial greenlands with cattle, beefhearts and oil, glitter salt grains, tomato and garlic provençale. We are at the table, waiting in our white crisp smart pressed party wear and the cloth is steaming in the light, breathing out from airing out all night in the warm summer soup of sixteen degree darkness. The pots are loud down-hall-way and the plates are somewhere else but the paintings are so much better than dinner, we agree. Layers of colour, thick and glossing in the light against the white back wall, plate-like. The door and skirting board are like knives and forks. Some sort of meal on the wall. The fogging stopped at the cross roads - you know the ones I mean yeah? The ones near Serial Killer Steve’s Debrah’s? After miles of thick tread tyres on empty gravel I had this moment, proper, where I thought to myself after catching my salt and pepper strands getting worse in the mirror–– it’s dark and full of nothing from here. I was in heaven-thick-cloud-like weather and it got me thinking about all the dark. I picked up speed, thinking then about how I’ve only just learnt how to see proper and now everything’s started blending blurry just in time for the good time. It’s all downhill from here, I thought, at the crossroads - you know the ones don’t you - mind, you couldn’t see them tonight could you because the weather really is so thick and fogged up. My car door struggled to get through it. Honest. I am at the purple mudded mixing pot of sunrise. It’s muggy, and the sound of my eyes blinking is disgusting. I choke at the morning, dry in my throat like paper, and the stars are outside the room. With beady eyes and teeth, a beginning threatens. Birds cry for greedy second helpings. I wash my face. I clip back my winging cowslick fringe and dig at the cavity in my pillow case, cratered from sweat and dreams and slumber. This rest was a weighted question filled with subtle, not so subtle, waiting. I felt like getting up and writing but the break was gaping at me like carp in a pond. In Japan, they stay silent on trains. They refrain from contacting eyes, touching gazes and overstepping personal space. I wake up in the morning and I avoid my face in the mirror, wash it with soap to blur my vision. I justify it with a line that promises surprise: If I wait a while before I see my reflection, I can be the fish I dreamt of, or the sky I itch at with burning celebration in my own dead-end night-time livid-lifestyle. I can become salutation, sunlike, golden, crescent moon or unburnt, umber, undone package of bread with bacon. I can keep my eyes on what I saw while sleeping. Be the things I was while dreaming. I have washed and clothed and droned on without words to utter for a bit. The orange I drank last week composts in the gutter but the pith is left, still bitter. I rinse out the silence from my mouth and spit the week of rest down the drain. I wake up, wash the face off the mirror and get ready for another year to start over.
There is always more to say. The days are ending up in darkness, sieving out stars and dust by minute by minute my minute, small being getting smaller by the hour. I can’t believe it’s been a year. So much has happened, and a part of me is sad I’ve sieved so much out, let the thinner pieces run through into words but left the bigger bits out. I’ve grown in ways that make me closer to myself but I haven’t been able to write it all out for some reason. I’ve felt myself ripped out of wind, empty. I’ve been blank faced, wet faced, red faced. I’ve been across the way from heartbreak and then met it again, and again. Played with it like a game, then lost it. Can you win it, anyway? I’ve been worried about tomorrow and what it means about today. I don’t know if I’m writing what I really want to, or if I have once this entire time. I’ve come up with stories in my head that rhymed with dreams I’ve had the nights before, about bumping into someone who knew me more than I knew me. I think there’s something to be said for ebbing, for waves and crashing and for feelings that can’t be described. This year of writing – I thought it would show me, remind me of things and days but it just highlights what I’ve left behind, left out. I want to get better at finding the words for what hurts and putting it down over finding the words for what rhymes and sounds right. I want to get better and taking out my ashes every day and watching them dissipate in pixels on a page. I want to be better at being bare. I want to share how I feel terrible sometimes, how I am wary of time or find it moves so slowly. Life is long, but I was so small only last night. I don’t understand it and it doesn’t feel right and another year’s passed by like a stranger that I only slightly recognise. I read about rituals. I read about routine and wanted to commit to being consistent. I wanted to hold onto a raft I’d built and see how long it could keep me up, out, drifting. I made it. I keep thinking about children becoming adults, each one I walk by I wonder whether it will make it to my age and I hope so. When I was little, I wanted to live in London and write stories. I wanted to be pretty and happy and funny, and smart. i wanted to make good art. I wanted to have friends I liked, and I wanted to have a dutch bicycle with a basket on it, that I’d fill with organic fruit from the market. I wanted a car the colour of ice cream. Then I grew up and I remember being in bed with a boyfriend. I was dreaming, and stirring and when I woke up he told me I’d been talking about a colour, one I’d never seen before. I remember he looked at me like I was the first sunset of a summer. Then the sun set, and another day came, and the colour I had met that night started to feel the same as all the other colours, but I look back to those days when I was magic to someone and I think about whether I still have it. Whether it’s blown away or whether it’s inside or whether it’s changed. A year ago, I had hoped for what has happened. i had hoped for completion and committing to an idea and carrying on with caring about things that I haven’t completely managed to put into words, and a year on, I’m still trying. Words rhyme when nothing seems right. I can try fix up sentences with a lightness of touch that seem to float through the blue light of my computer screen. I can lie in bed and slowly drift into another dream, and if I come across a new colour, I can tell myself all about it, and I can think I’m a sunset. This year has been enormous. Heavy. I’ve breathed in dust and rust and text messages from people saying things I wished they didn’t really mean, and watched myself take steps backwards and forwards upwards and write words that were hiding what I’d spent all night dreaming about. Faces that I might not see again. Faces that I used to see all the time, a year ago, have been drifting out with every poem, every day, every letter on a page where I try, sometimes more sometimes less, to figure out what I want to say. My skin has renewed–shed. My cells have multiplied and bred. The hair grown from my head is long dead. The boat isn’t the same boat. The boat is the same boat. I keep thinking about how Mars looks relatively similar to Earth. I keep thinking about the way this city smells and sounds like feeling sad. Alone in London, there’s a river made of different things on the pavement to that of the river in the middle (people) splitting the land in two halves like June does to the year. I ride a bicycle to find new places but without a map, I accidentally follow memory for movement and direction. I find myself at familiar spots, drenched in the hot glittering sweat of past promise - the uninhabitable faith in tomorrow that lies under sturdy bridges and restaurant doorframes. I hear children acting naturally, because this is their world and they knew no difference and I am jealous of their inexperience and I am sad for them. I’m surprised to see the river move, and dancing people, and laughter. I haven’t heard laughter come from the distance in a while. I biked to Clapham Common from Southwark Station. On the grass, people were gaggled in groups talking and drinking and singing and it felt like a national football victory. It felt like people were celebrating something I hadn’t watched and didn’t understand. Inside of an apartment that seems familiar in colour and shape, tip-toeing between furniture. Looking through windows to living rooms I don’t know, and other spaces where laughter is drowned out, swallowed whole. On a beach at home, a joke lasts over the cast weather in grey and blue. You can call your children in for dinner from the garden over and they’ll hear you. The man can’t be heard from the road over. He jolts elbow and hand in a wave of come here but the city is full. The country is full. Everywhere is full. Open. Closed. I was watching a video online a few weeks ago and found myself disappointed by the familiarity of Mars. The way the sand and mist and colours exist to our eyes as they do here, already. It was the same when I walked through London earlier – the people talk the same about the rain or whether or not to take this route or the other. In the park by the church, a man cries over his phone speaker, playing out hymns. His friend calls him across but the tree blocks the sound. Around the corner, a covered woman searches the shelves over with her children uncovered. An old person looks unbothered by disease of any kind, nibbling on a cigarette. There are plenty of seats free at the next table. Not all pubs are able to open yet. Solitude is solitude everywhere. On a computer screen the canned laugh spills out and over, through the room, to the street and is trodden over with blister-giving shoes. I arrive either in a dream or as a burglar, blurring what I’m seeing in a rush of colours I don’t know. The room is filled with fingerprints. The ceiling has swallowed snow, pretends to be paint. The indentation of my body in my mattress went away within one day of my absence. A man I am talking to online tells me he has been sleeping in a tent on a farm for four days. I don’t ask about it, but he tells me it’s a holiday. There are bedrooms inside but he likes the sound of nervous zippers in the wind, and talks to me about village green back home, and cricket, and dreams. I tell him about my garden - the way it bursts with fat weeds after summertime and I look up village green on the internet to find out what makes one, but instead I consider high necked pop stars with bowlcuts. The polyester encased man asks if I have The Kink for outdoor sex. He is attempting a pun - oh yes I like a good hill side rump- I type, going along with a notion I find pitiful in reality; nervous zippers undoing in the wind. After time in water, skin looses its liquid a little and dries up. I lie, submerged and then emerge moments after, maybe within an hour or outside of one, and towel dry. I try to avoid spilling onto the linoleum, slip my way through the living room like a stealth or stolen sample. It is one of the afternoons where cold has crept its way into any crevice, taking time to tease tears through eyelashes and I prune myself pickled, pretty pink and white dipped skin from the bathing.` In the scene I am objectified, sweat sliding across my neck and chest in the candlelight and the bath is steaming right and centre. I stage a sigh. I dry off the drowning, flooded floor––and then there was the eye, bulb blowing glass rolling through the hall of skulls and blood. It sunk itself deep into sockets and pocketed the best seat in the head. From there, it shed tears and batted away all the bad bits. It had lingered at skylines and cried at goodbye-lines in films made with i love you as the punchline. On long journeys, I would spot the moon from my smudged window, fly rubbed and dirted with motorway, and I would follow it with my eyes for miles of wading darkness. I remember wondering whether we were driving fast enough to get home before it did, the bright out of breathe in the race against machine. I used to turn my head and try my best to catch it in my keen vision like some rare sight that I might never see again. As words started to make sense, I learned to read a book before bed about befriending stars that had fallen from the sky and shattered into glass. Sometimes when I drive and see the moon far out, panning across, I slow down my car and tell it that winning doesn’t matter.You’re the sort of person that’s made deals with people . You trick them into corners with your words and they smile at the way they sound. They laugh sometimes. You have an extra eye, one more than you need. You blink to bat away the dust from other people. The disgust. It is one of those days that shines like silver cutlery on a checkered table in the summer and you’re flirting with the idea of another lover, legs out bare fleshed flailing in the warmth and the earth turns underneath you in discomfort, warning the fly in your web. You blink away the dust and rust and rattle out a deal about the future. You say to this new body that he’ll see you in the chugging water phase of a late night after dancing. You will meet him in a sweaty hallway when you’ve spent your fourties disappearing. You promise primrose oil, foil highlights, dust mite free bed linen, to be a wife who turns to him and tells him he’s forgiven for being a husband. You open your extra eye and wink away the thought of another drink. You pay for your meal and sink your teeth into his introduction like it’s a rare and real delicacy when it is all predicted script. You tell him to meet you when you’re older, outside a place that serves honesty by the spoonful and he’s sighing at your forethought, unaware of his future notion of distraught. His future body that stands disappointed, waiting for the woman with too many eyes to see him in a way he likes. Time is something slippery. It’s an image we well up at the sight of when shown in films. Some ageing figure letting go or holding onto photographs, missed opportunities caught on screen. There have been many days with many ways of writing or evading what’s happened earlier and it’s important to say, to you reader, if you exist, that today doesn’t mark a year of words- that comes in nine days. Some crazed evenings or mornings, paper in hand, I wrote five or six pieces in one sitting like a greedy diner - cheating my own game, and other times I’ve missed the day, trying little to find what I wanted to say like an actor trained for years, the year a load you carry unknowingly, what they mean when they use the tern ‘golden years’. Those were the golden years, I am raking through the years, fencing each year that leaves or arrives, tomorrow, week or later years amassing to some half mast ideal of what’s to grow, do you remember last year? like some distant relative after years, soften with years of fear and moaning, it’s the closest full moon we will have this year, days reading in the city last year, she tells us of the bad year when bugs took away bodies, in the same woodland, and every year, around the time of my birthday, these daffodils bloom bold, each year is special. The pair planted an apple tree, bought as a child when we were born. It shook every spring and dropped every third fruit on its branch. The bees flew around the bruised skin and honey pasted the ground. The apples were sour and somewhat silky but so high up, too high for dessert most Sundays. Then one day, each apple was within reach, lying through gritted gravel and grass after wind had blown it down. The roots upturned, embarrassed like an underside of skirt in winter. Somehow the weather had picked the tree up for a dance, over excited, which ended in upset and falling. Falling of fruit and root and any future promise of pudding. You’ve cocooned yourself in a shell of down feathers and the season is seeping in. Your eyes itch after a case of crying and the television’s playing a re-run of some Japanese game-show, where a contestant cracked his head open on an obstacle. You’re lack-lustre, whipped tired like instant custard, and you notice in the corner that your clothes have been laundered, folded, in the right way. At breakfast, you recall dividing the whites from the yellow. Pincer knife in hand, you’d trace the sun, remove the clouds from around it and surgeon-like, divide the cushioning. So with this in mind, you find yourself peeling away from bed, leaving the white behind you and you clean the stickiness of days from your skin. You take the bins out. You put yourself inside of some clothing and you begin the mending, collecting pieces left right at your front door, others at the office desk, memories and moments left to pour yourself over. You gather yourself together, beating the air out, and look at the shards of hard set regret in your hands. A sorry case, carried in bits. I recognised autumn today like I would a street I’d photographed in the background of a portrait as I was squelching through it. I could feel it in the wind. My dad told me he liked the way the leaves smelt after a certain type or rainfall and I agreed - my mum didn’t know what we meant. I write a lot about change - about how mornings come again and again, or how I think back to times when I was a smaller version of myself and I feel some senes of itchiness in this but then, somewhere, I think that life is coming up with metaphors to make experiences make sense. I had an ex boyfriend who told me I wasn’t good at forming metaphors, and for a while I stopped making them, but with that I realised that I had stopped trying to draw images from what I was seeing into what I could say, so I started coming up with them again anyway. There are different ways to move forward by water. In rowing, you face backward to push forward, and in canoeing or kayaking - you face forward. I think for a long time, I felt like I’d dropped an oar, and was twisting uncomfortably, spending half of my time looking back at where I’d come from, dizzy and unable to focus fully - and the other half looking at where I was heading, dizzy and unable to focus fully. Spinning and circling, the leaves have started to fall here. They’re brown and crisp in a way I recognise. So you walked all the way to the beach and the lane got narrower and narrower but from the tunnel of trees you see the sea. You’ve never seen it before and it glitters just like in the films and television shows. It’s lit up with life and shade and colour that constantly changes. Tiny pieces of water all making up a greater picture. You’re walking closer to it, and the tunnel widens a little but never fully. You’re in a cave heading to the waves. You stop in awe, arms out beside you and you feel as though your skin is being scored for roasting. Your feelings creep out, burst at the seams in your elbows and knees. It’s the most beautiful thing you have ever seen, and you stand on the concrete looking through the tunnel of trees and the water and watch it. It falters with confidence, like an actor trained for years with experience and self-assuredness on how to behave like the shy one at a party. The waves move rapidly. You can’t believe the beauty and you stand there watching it ripple until the light leaves. You turn away and tread up the hill to the parking bay where your car is, but, something is different, something has rearranged itself. The sound of moving water has gone and you turn back to look for the sea. The view has changed. A screen is being rolled up by bodies in boiler suits, revealing a brick wall. The waves, water glimmering were made of minute pixels like the ones you had watched as a smaller version of yourself. A fallacy. The streetlights cry over you but the tarmac is dry. The sea’s been rolled up and set aside for the next screening. You look up to the sky and look for the creases or edges or seams. We saw a film and emulate it- quote or recreate in our bedrooms the motion of hands waving air or smiling with casual air of a disarming nature. Aged eleven, emanating insecurity. We are an amalgamation of colours mixed in paints or posters of actresses at the ideal weight. It’s a dinner spread of head to toe collaging. We watch others and spot cover pieces of who we are with who we have seen walk by. Aged nineteen, pierced with tattoos we found online. When we were smaller, they told us not to copy and we side-eyed the others. Peripheral vision blurred. We cut the pictures of young girls and boys from magazines and make a happy family. We go home with it in our bag and hang it on the fridge. I’ll have what she’s having , we tell our parents, pointing to her plate, smiling. The pear shape is sad in its own skin. It has mottled pieces freckled. In Sleepless in Seattle I watched a woman peel an apple in one sliver as the ‘moonlight’ cast across her face. An underpaid teenager held the moon in a steady arm and turned it off between each take. I remember thinking this was how you made someone fall for you, by removing skin effortlessly in one piece, with a sharp knife over a sink. Carve the peel and reveal the flesh as bare and sweet and juice filled. Before I had touched the skin of any other person I would stay up in my bedroom and try on bras handed down from cousins and pray to my ceiling for a body I would peel from other bodies. I would practice clasping these wire cages around my lungs, in the dark, in the bed, in the mirror. One handed. I would read about the body shape I’d grown and harvest it into trousers every morning - learn that I was pear-like. In too-tight trousers and too-tight tapered skirts and too-tight skin I would stand at the sink and begin peeling potatoes in one thin strip. I was sleepless, thinking about peeling skin. What I means is that you exist, or I do. It means that there’s an idea of I. It means that I can try to express what’s inside but fall only a little bit short each time. It means outside of your inside, and it’s hidden within words like when we, or you or I can hide in crowds, cocooned among meaning greater than ourselves. I means me but in a way that it doesn’t really. I’m blearing blue tears in a blue car in blue jeans and the blue far away sky is so hard to reach and I’m learning how to see other colours blown out from the sun and I’m running now from the way the blue tastes like some hot glue gun toxic and plastic in the way it burns my fingers and I am blue bruised from the way it holds my skin together in some marriage bound by books and lines rehearsed I reverse into the parking space and a blue cone buckles under my tyre I retire to the sea, the blue sea and I scream out sweat, steaming the atmosphere I can hear the way people say they were born with blue eyes that changed to gold and I look at mine in the mirror and see blue eyes still there in the hole sockets of my skull I run my blue fingernails over the walls of bone and each eye decides that it’s done it’s shift of shining I am crying in the mirror at the way the colour stayed true from the start and then they dart out from their homes and the blue groans down the plug hole and the drain and becomes rain. The sun tells you it has been a while, singing your skin to aged lines. The year a load you carry unknowingly, you shed it all at once, only once, at the end of the story. It’s one of those nights that feels like a party winding down. The lights are glowing, the drinks are gone and eyes are closing. You look to the sky and debate nothingness - the fact that it lies inside of itself comfortably, the way that it lies to itself. The night feels cold in your hand, clamming around a pearl in the clouds that’s rare and hot and small. How does the sun fit in your vision? How does the sea? The world is so big – too big to believe, and you’re at the waves watching them go on unseen, every piece of sand and wave and land and growing old, wrinkling ageing hand can somehow fit compactly in your eye. How? It’s some sort of magic, some trick under the table. I think there’s more to life than what the poems say. I think there’s more to life than what our eyes give way for us to see. Somehow, in the eye line of some burnt to a crisp skyline there’s a place to sail to. Land. The people in their polyester buoy themselves with trained arms and the sun swarms around them, leading there before the night comes towards the idea of a holiday far away where they will splash about, throw cash for cocktails on the patios where the dinner comes encased in oils and foreign faces smile for tips. Remember, though, that the sun looks the same wherever you go. The way these bodies show the sun gratitude by diseasing in melting, sweltering bronze casting compliments on one another is maybe what people mean when they use the term ‘golden years’. Those were the ‘golden years’. The summer came and went and the sun looks different here, did I say it’s all the same earlier? That’s not what I meant. It’s a frightening thing; to want instead of waiting for some inkling of not only goodness but a goal being met in a well lit hall. To be approached by a ticked box with a neck cricked from the heavy weight of efforts long extended. My arm has reached out to touch things before, to be seared on each side by disappointment but today, it feels the walls, the ceiling and floors of a room called ‘hope’ or something less cliche, maybe. We are a barrel of fish, shot at or dismissed for wine but there’s time left to take hooks to sea - a broader pool for dreaming of bigger catches. Your life can and does change inch by inch, day by day. We don’t always get a say, but when we do, I want to scream loudly and with the sharpest knife voice of conviction. There were a few she’d like to share the shrinking with, sat small in the armchair and listening to the way breath left her, or the scratch of grey hair malting on the pillow. She knew she’d tread the line of life being good, and expected her body to shrink and grow with the seasons. She’s a blue Wednesday, half way through. The leaves are smaller than they used to be. As she makes her way down the hall she doesn’t know whether it’s the floor or her joints that creak. It was one of those rivers - with waters that simmer and run so quietly they can’t be caught in a hand. You’re throwing rocks at windows, because you saw it in a film once but in front of you the glass is staying intact. There’s no shatter, and no music playing. You try to hide the sound you make as the rebound arrives. It’s been time, of course. The way you look to the sky is different knowing you have no right to wonder how it looks from the other side of the country anymore. Heartbreak has left you lighter. Your body splayed out in ruins across roads and recollective moments. You’re in the car now, hands up through a non existent sunroof - only it’s dark and has been for a while. The stars blink away the night in a delicate, flirtatious, come to bed manner. You have absorbed the pieces, picked them up in blind obedience- the way a bird knows to fly one way, or a fish the other. Survival of the best bits in your round, glass-with-tear eyes and you try your hard-earned patience to be kind to yourself. You remember the unevenness. The burnt bits. The arguments and hurt. It’s a collapse. A decay. You find yourself in a lay by, looking behind with your eyes forward, trying to remind yourself to move onwards, onwards, onwards. Life is here, arriving somewhere on the doorstop or around the table. It’s electric, dimming, laughing at some joke that’s only whispered. It doesn’t wait. It doesn’t move in a way that’s seen - just edging, incrementally. Somewhere else, dressed in clothes I’ve never stepped limb into, another life of mine was lived or is. I don’t believe in this any more. Life is here, wherever you are. Disguised in worry and shadow. It’s in the other plans, in tomorrow, in the way you hope. Such a heavy word - life. It rips at seams, at dreams. I don’t believe this anymore. You recall the grandiose of it, the way it almost rose like some sort of scented steam. How were you so unaware or used to it? The wonder of the seams were amiss. You kissed such soft and sought for faces, any flower in your vase. You looked over to the ceiling, marble, glass but to you it was just a ceiling. Someone else’s upside floor. It’s easier to forget the beauty when you’re before it, and recount after. You showered in hotel rooms built for men with power, ate the best food, loved the best love. It’s disgusting, the way it writhes together, the way its tethered to itself like some vine on a white clean plant. You look to the sun and see only light. It’s frightening, how words lose their weight. You look over photographs and hate the way you looked at life like it just happened - like the rhyming was an accident - like the river cleaned itself - like the books where alphabetised on the shelf because they just were. You just were alive back then and now you try to push on through the earth or push on through the not knowing what’s to come, not knowing whether you’re the one that runs the whole thing, not knowing whether you’re the kind of person who can thrive in any setting. You look at the photograph of the sun and see that it’s a black hole. You can feel the rain on each pore - the tiny tingling tears down some blistering rock face. The way it taps on each of your pieced parts feels like a game. It is electric without the damage. The sun is over worn today from working, and the clouds complain. Please, drought. You want to feel thirst. You want to know what it feels like to need something. Anything. To push out, parched, like leaves curling up in rusting dirt. You want to want something - and as the tiny rain keeps falling again and again, you pretend that the rain on your skin hurts.The explosion, big and bright, vibration sending messages across cities and sound waves, seeing the sight of orange from afar. The television leaves no scar to return to, only pixels telling brief sad stories and an advert for adverse effect. Quick as a flash, the sentiment is sent from broadcast houses and spliced, slicing through the air from research and review, from me to you. Each day, some new news is terrible in its time allotted. Prescribing the seconds for serious material, resources rebounding retweeted at gale force speed. You begin with a headline, you plant the seed. I was taken back to feeling good about night and it was brilliant. I am taking a breath from swimming. I’ve been kicking hard against the weight of it and now I’m way out in the deep, on my back. I want to _________. I want to stop the way the _____ feels. I want to crack open every thought and untangle the root. I’m tired. I am raking through the years. I separate the _________ from the ____________. What’s with all this poetry, then? Cryptic cynicism? Uninformed ideas on religion? Or is it just visions of a version of myself I want? To seem like some cinematic person who monologues on how fear can feel like sailing a ship on untamed waters. or like prison, or like the immersion of a body in ice water, or like rearing an animal for the slaughter, and how it feels to be a daughter, and the jolting deer-in-headlights moment of decision. I have no secrets worth keeping from myself. Truthfully, I’m starting to believe that we’re all just born set solid, and that life is the slow change of melting, draining, grinding down. Excuse me, Waiter, something seems a little off. There’s a writer over here trying their best to be profound. There was a meteor shower when I arrived. Invincible confetti. I rose up with the light and cried for days, then stopped. My eyes shone. Fast forward and downward from space, from nothing, I emerged from an idea and mistake. Some happy, some sad, some frightening mere feeling of taking a deep breath and waking up with a world to learn. In the time since, chest tightening around lungs and bones lengthening, I’ve formed thought. Each from film or tin foil wrapped lunch conversation with friends I no longer talk to. I become myself each night and recede in the morning. Go long to catch stories or score grooves in the concrete that sets somewhere, fencing each year that leaves or arrives. I’m bigger now, climbing up a staircase with turns and I’ve earned myself legs that carry me. The height is relentless, and I hear the footsteps from above and beyond the walls. I drag legs up, tired over the higher and higher inches of cemented stepping and feel myself lagging behind. I feel myself flailing, trailing behind. It took five days for me to arrive, and as my Father waited, he buried daffodil bulbs in the ground. The way the story sounds like a song I know now is what it’s all about - the way the stories sound like a symmetrical chorus. I look at the yellow pushing through the scribble of thorns and think of pollen, bursting through the air, hurling to a new place and crashing down on it, forcing life, tearing through, feeding. Across the way, I hear a lamb crying out and chewing at a daffodil. In the garden, I lie back, grass on fire, blades attacked by orange and crackling. I think I only notice fire as I burn and now the green is different to the way it was. I reckon in my dream tonight I’ll get lost. They’re raking water on the flames but all I hear is someone’s name there’s been some mistake, I think, some change but that’s alright I imagined I’d be ash by now the trees are grown the skies just clouds and I’m still here I have this scar across my face when I sleep I meet myself and see I’m somehow moved. There are so many shadows where her mind has walked and I suppose it’s a case of learning the routes. Hello Sun, so warm and liquid. I reach my hand out like you’ll hold it and I’m scolded somehow. I used to look up and count down, blindness only a thing of fairy tales and then stinging with water, tearing down my face, I’d be left amazed. Imagine such beauty, impossible to look at. That’s the loneliest of good gifts - painful beauty - the kind that’s top of the pile and wrapped, out of reach for children, big and small. On my birthday I remember putting my thumb up to cover the sun, and noticing it had grown big enough to block the brightness. The way it could mask the light burned my face up with excitement. My thumbs have been the same for a while now. Simple sun dials are believed by many to have shown the way through seas. One stick, standing upright in the decking, to get from a side of green to the motherland. Using shadow to see new things. I learnt this as I travelled over rocks with a love other than myself, and marked the way using blind interest and itineraries. The sun sighed down on the concrete all night back then, with no wavering or cowering, and we glowered at the light in the early hours of the morning, laughing at how, back home, the sun politely hides itself, giving the moon its turn to show people places. It was brighter than usual today. The sun was out. I burned. In a deep purple voice, he growls at the morning. Buzzing in its persistence. It’s a late sunrise, laces dragging over the greenery and the weathering is visible in the trees. Fucking hay fever season. Sneeze. Soft blue blanket under, me, I am kept tightly beneath the night. Is this a memory? Shimmering underneath the words and heavy time? You can’t quite discern it from the business and bustle of what’s going on. Is it hidden beneath all the lines that cross and weave around, somewhere between now and later? You look to your side and see the loved one, glimmering with a secret you both know. You ask them if they feel it. You ask them if they stole it from a film––it’s too good to be true. Is this a memory, this singular moment right here - when sitting with you feels like blue skies. In the morning, eyes liquid lidded, I bloom apart like some rotten plant. It’s been hours of an adventure, an internally invented curser hovered over the word GO and I did just that. I went to bright green dreams, shuttered between the down cover and springs, where it had sprung lively. I traipsed the faces – unsure of the way and then just before the day arrived I thought of life in all it’s all. I’m pretty open to it, the idea of becoming new. I feel like when I wake up there’s so much that could be done. Expecting what’s to go from coming back after a change, there’s so much to say for growing but there’s no real way of knowing how you grow up like a flower even in some part of shade or nettled garden. I’m open to it– change. I’m open like a wound. I feel the draft in my inbox or puckered skin on end. I feel the end coming, then realise how ridiculous that seems. I rake up the dishevelled leaves before I go. I grow up like the snow does (it doesn’t) I shower myself in ideas and then watch them all (fleck by dirty speck, the discarded scrap heap) wash away. I am splayed out, lying out to dry in the sun and I am open to it. To feel the way she soaks up any stain or gained perspective. Evaporating, dissipating down the drain. To discern a bad egg from the good, submerge it in a hood of water. Flood it deep and mull it over. If it floats, it’s for the bin. If it sinks, tuck in. I like this point, small pin prick sized and pretty in the night where I’m the only one about. It feels nice. I like this disjointed place between right and left where my head is, where my bed is. I like the way my breath sounds, on its own between the four walls and I like the way I like the way I like the way I like the weightlessness of my head on my shoulders after falling to sleep. I like the way I keep thinking, and the centring of dreams––the way they snap into focus like some cheering clapping audience. Colours come to me, and I like the way the faces I knew look like silver. The way they shine a little. Glitter. I like the way alone feels. I like the way this small point in my life seems real for once. A rarity. It’s been a long time (no limb could discern the length) and the sky is starting to look the same. In my dreams I turn myself inside out like some rotten article of clothing at the seams and I feel undone, brain compiled of some feeling other than good. I am grown from the edges, restlessness amounting to some bigger things and blundering inside of it. I am as big as the hole I feel, a toll taking dice rolled with no squeal at an answer, no prize drawn, no romance, no lasting encounter. In the river, a stone is picked among the many rippling attendees of the dancing water party and I lie on my stomach in the dirty mulling of it all. The groggy feeling of the stalled tomorrow, week or later years amassing to some half mast ideal of what’s to grow. What’s to go next? What’s to co-ordinate itself with some hole or blank space? My mind races through the underscores. The pauses. The parentheses. I call my parents in the darkness. They tell me it gets better. That the weather always changes. That the way a feeling festers is dependent on its faces and I scoop up at the running water, run my way through shunning who I am from who I ought to be, drink down sadness like some secret and delicious recipe, take the paper to the bin and shred it bit by tiny slivered piece and, bad as it gets, I taper out the ends of sorrow to thin out sentences. Tomorrow I’ll breathe more in the day, eat up the clouds before the dismay hits, run faster, loop back around, kick and scream myself, cheer three times for every sounding horn and thorn plucked from my skin. I’m in it now, the murky river, no longer drowning, learning, swimming.There have been days passed, many, really and the senses of who have lulled themselves asleep from many an ached or dragged body. Unwell. With reason left unearthed and the energy of days before shown to the door or shadowed among those golder days. Long was the way to walks and breath basters all an arms length from them now my body has been worn dry from all wearing, tearing out. I conjure the days, soon to come carried by rain and watch them appear. The gold light lips it (the cliff, I mean) in some uncomfortable kiss to watch, unless onscreen. Smothering all surfaces, hard edged and sincerely shaking in the sun, we sit on the beach and watch them, eyes darting as they settle into one another, the evening becoming and slipping away. Blinded by beaming faces with milk teeth at the park, we push forward on foot. It’s a grey day, one that promises nothing, and we see the week panned out within a hand drawn frame or plan. Older legs push prams across dregs of cigarettes. Young minds with no memories to overshare yet wobble themselves dizzy. It’s getting drizzly and there’s a soft threat of rain. I imagine every story. The misery in muted cotton or the unnoticed sound of a train of dribble hitting the concrete. I imagine the way they brush their teeth. Whether they sigh with relief in the shower. Standing back to watch, I notice more than many would and will the sky to open up to wash off masks, maybe. What do they want. What drives them to push on screen stories, arguments. What few things have they said they also really meant? We are spoilt for choice. The crowd is pushing forward. It’s getting drizzle and there’s a soft threat of rain. I count the words here, and fit them into small homes, hoping they’ll make sense. I won’t follow, legs too short to match the distance he’s running for. I try to grab at skin but grapple with a gap of thin air instead–so far away from any realised thing. My eyes have long looked to sentimentality and sedimented memory. Imagined the way a name feels in my hands, and all the weight it brings. I’ve decided I won’t turn around again. It stings, it stings, it stings. I am beside myself holding up propped by some idea I wrote a while ago. I imagine my shadow, strong enough for support and it waves in the wind. At a pavemented city I will soon arrive in, I’ll be new and alone and sometimes lonely but at least there’ll be someone, some me beside me as I walk in the sun or subtle street-lit concrete. Will you share your screen, so I can see your world move from where I’m sitting? Today, I walked to school as a version of myself that was bigger than back then. I walked the lanes in the sun, my knees knocking at the tarmac and my heart drumming against my neck. I remembered the way my legs felt, bending with the curves of the road as I strode hand in hand with someone bigger. I felt surprised to be allowed alone, walking the gravel and dust with no one to trust whether I knew how to cross the road or keep from the passing people in heavy cars. The tractors that whirred by, blasting my ear drums with noise and exhaust. I remember being exhausted at the foot of the hill, willing for my house to be just one more step away with every step away. Today, I watched for changes, spotted the difference in aches and pains. I was perplexed by my fast forming memory of the times that came before. I felt like I had when I was sixteen, eleven, eight, four. Sometimes I get so jolted when I realise quite how much of me stays from the days when I had to be reminded of my date of birth, house address, telephone number, mothers maiden name. I can’t believe how much is the same. I thank the overtakers and the blank faced sky that tries its hardest as I walk to hold back any drop of rain. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be. A line laced in every diary or half-finished piece of poetry that disguises itself in some sorry state of mis-matched complimentary dialogue or lonely logging of time. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be - a line that somehow suggests a work towards despite it being planted in the ground of now. To be is to be is to be now. Or now. Am I even supposed? I don’t know. I dream of becoming. Growing up to the sky in some green dandelion weeded ironed out linen costume as a plant and getting to blooming, upset. I thought I would be higher. I was supposed to be a brighter plant. One to invite all the bees in. I am in the mirror, standing on my toes to catch the way my whole head melds into my neck and I am proposing to her. Proposing an idea. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be I whisper, just about loud enough for a handful of select others to hear me. So here we are, bound to the dirt below us for reasons that season every dish we make or chew. They are the cause for every hold on to or hold back moment in our story. They quell the world still. At the edge of any choice, peering out at the fall, of course we’re scared. This goes without saying and stays, put down on any page or screen. Maybe you have never been sincere. Maybe you don’t know what, or who you hold dear, but the calloused edge of some cliff, I like to face the sea below like I would a friend I have not yet met. You like to look down and pretend the waves are waving at you. their sheets of blue eagerly greeting you. Underneath a heavy slab of slate coloured night rests those feelings. The electric heart ache, instant, lightening fast then over before a masked sun arrives. On your own, the walls silent with cement, you think of what you think of and then feel it gnawing at your insides. Probably comparable to that piece of the night that bathes you in tepidity, leaving you shivering and dark in a way you can’t draw. You’re floored with this heart feeling, like parting ways with an old right, hand-holding person. Like tearing off a scab too early, and though you can believe it’s over, unbothered by your blistered heart, the night comes and you’re swearing out in bloodied bruised and fucking bitter pain again. I wave my hand at the young field with grass backhanding the sun, treading neat footprints through the sheeting and fleets of a thousand roots. I am bigger than I used to be, grown under-the-table slyly and bones clicked into place with memory of parks and river swims, skimming stones and telephone calls after school. The sun overlooks the eaves of an old tree, dropping above, and I feel the same as I used to be. I think of the way I was at half-height, running away from home. I think of the right and wrong route home. I think of the people in bed at home. I think of home. In the early part between the leaving and gone, I forgot to look. One evening, center filled with green leaves, butter and oil, I pull on boots, calf high, and wade downstream. The skies are empty, hungry for company or hiding planes behind curtains and I drink it in. Pushing against my leg skin, the water is cold and I’m up to my shins in murk. Under the bridge I go, back bent or leaning to one side, weaving branches and stones as the water leads down to a new garden I stride on, ready to find a new place–– a waving flower clustered behind back doors or a bench for scoring meat in summer before skewers and char. Rounding the corner, I seep into water and lower myself among weeds and umber rusted gates. The neighbours eat dinner later than we do. I hear knives scrape plates and a wife thank for her fill. I sit in the riverbed, sheet of stream hiding the sounds of my imbalance and splashing, to watch. I dream of the meal. I dream of strawberries and cream under hot suns. I dream of this life around the corner from mine, where the same water passes by every time they turn to look. In the thorn and worn out weeds, I watch them until a deep blue falls. The lights turn on, the river becomes a feeling not a sight and I wade my way home as the night comes. I was angry often, tenuously stringing arguments and softness hardened. I was smaller than my mouth, sky touching far before the first branch on a silver birch. My eyes were open, but I fell over more than I can count and the way I listened to shouting people was not something to be proud of. I was almost full, and collected life in stapled pages, bullet point lists and printed notes. I choked on music, swallowed silence greedily, I was hungry, and needed things I couldn’t find a way to ask for. I stored my life in notebooks, always looked for more, was sure of myself until I wasn’t with dozens of photographs, dozens of videos, hours of arguments, a theatrical romanticisation of my life, watching rain fall from a windowsill. Dreams of being a wife and then ex wife. Dreams of the after. Dreams dreams dreams. In the hole of sleep, carpetted or curtained with a deep blue, who will we meet? I close the doors to me, latch lashes and breathe heavily, feeling my breeze block body and ignore the itches. Down, I picture shapes and ease into a new place, hurting some feeling with a sentence I won’t recall in the crawling morning. At dawn, the light seeps silver through the glass and I pass through into another light. The people behind me are metallic and hot in memory as they wave away. Another day. Inside the sudding waves, each rock softens somehow. Children comb for shells while parents well up at the pace they age before them. The water stays the same, reflecting light as always. Each rolling body, wrinkled skin and mane of hair edges closer to a sure certainty in whether tomorrow will be brighter. It’s a collaged riddle, impossible. Two parents sit in sand, mere feet from their whole life. It is picking grit toothed pebbles from bed, hair tucked behind an ear, pressed to listen out for waves. –and so we swim, across the filmed light of the cover. Blue with ending summer on the surface and silted mud between our skin. we are tethered by the way it shines on somehow. the day birthing another sun, round in fire and hot cheeked from burning. knees wet with it. drinking up the shallow pool of river water. We turn to the running stream and remember summers, delicious dripping down our forearms. we remember shins grazed and the ways every inside though was an outside one. telling secrets in the waves and jumping on the pavement over chalk games. They lie flat on their backs with bones settled under pacing blood flow. Two people known well. To the side, the shape of each is memorised from nights of practice and the air applauses while nothing is said. The bed feels twice as big in the light. I want to shy away, hide rotten under moss or as a white seagull among clouds. I like the idea of diving silently, no trace of me for miles or ripples in the wind. In the sound of running leaves, we stood apart and watched the trees across the plain green. A rare sight it was, to see the wind move blades of sharp grass into softness. Sand down the edges with every out breath. We felt the sway somehow from around, the rain a shy guest at the table, and we watched for a while. Eye lashes curling in the cold. Some orchard in another light, these newborn plants in the bold pushing force and we imagined them in time. Whether they’d blame themselves for ageing, or be fine with the feeling. I hold hands with the riff in between the greenery. It is angry at first and riles under pressure of the comfort. Breath slowing, we grow up to the sky –– the field, the wind and I. I will design myself and become , figure out the course of where to go and watch myself. I will refrain from diversion, and hold myself over tides. Ride waters. I will be my own friend who is fine with faltering at times, but I will try not to hide from the bad bits. i will immerse myself in her, armband deep at first and wetter with learning. I will try to be better. You glitter from a distance in sand and sweat beads, heavy from your pouring conversation. It’s been one of those days, and the way your voice sounds gives you away. In the wind, the words from tables over carries easily, every syllable some dandelion seed or crushed daisy. We’d be lying if we frowned to the sun. In this instance, there’s no need to talk about tomorrow. Only memories of old cliffs ground into sand. Holding time in our hand. Trying to understand the scale of history and whether we fit inside of it comfortablyYou’re bigger than we were back then, when we stretched with growing hands to stroke or shake furred horse hydes through thorn bushes. Your voice has changed, and the way my name rattles in your mouth has boiled to jam (it sounds sweeter than I know I am). Did you get taller? Your shoulders brush a sky I rarely touch, and the face I know of yours is more rough, with weather from running for some crowded bus. Do you remember last year? I do. Your hair is different now, and mine is too. Rain came, unannounced and shy at first. I saw him dancing over leaving trees and mounds of gravel, drivel spouting, breathing floundered. I see myself shining in the mirror. She beats her heart out in the morning like a pillowcase adorning blood—dreams shed in hungry air. With each hair shaven with a pairing knife or melted in a bath bowl, gleaming, she emerges from the water like a dish washed plate. Steaming. The faces of family- their skin peeling from the flesh of fruit. Sweet and delicious in nighttime dispute of attachment. A tenuous link. Who are they to you? A brother, a lover, a sister, another friend at the till from before? These people are underlined, scored with knife-sharp memories. Spread out thinly, each face a past-by passion or lost opportunity. In the comfort of sleep, you introduce yourself. You begin a life in blurred waters. The endless options picket fence themselves around you for miles and then suddenly they disappear. In the mirror you wash your terrain skin, peeling from the sun you lay in for too long. You are a familiarity and it is frivolous. Her friendship is unrequited, proven as the mirror mists up. You look for friends in cartons and magazines. You go to sleep and, in dreams, you dance together, exchange phone numbers, live. Your evenings, dressed in wool and night, are fading. You hold your eyes open like a dam holding water. You blink and collapse. The day’s over. The green was green there, putting trees to shame and you looked up at the branches which survive another spell somehow. You are on a wall, legs dangling from their joint effort at support. The floor is out of reach, as is marriage, teaching, children, homes, bills. The world is big, bright in colours you are learning. Red, Yellow, Blue and you know the way to write your name out. You know what comes from adding two with two. Your skin protects you like peel of some fruit packed in your lunchbox and the feeling of rain is without consequence. Life happens to you, as it always will until it stops. Oranges inside peels rot. Those you love wipe away your snot and sadness. The road you used to live on looks like you’re seeing it through sleeping eyes. The sky is still big, but now your feet touch the ground. They have for a while. Crouch in rubber soles, earth up to knee socket. Bucket at your side. You can find the root of the green, crisp white sheet of sheathing. With scissors, clean, you mustn’t be handed with heaviness, instead, be delicate to uproot. The rocket is not ready yet but that can wait. You can give her a trim, pampered from home to bowl. Lift your lettuce slowly and take her like a wet leaf. Pat dry. In the kitchen, eyes watering from the onions, fry a crispy side of something, if time allows it. Or otherwise, a vinaigrette - in its own green company. Devour. Sometimes, I lie in my short bath and listen to a stranger tap white and black keys through the water. I pretend I’m the main character. I pretend I’m in milk that’s turning sour after months of submerging and my prune fingers wrinkle, disgusted. I lift limbs, breaking the surface and watch heat leave me. I pull out the plug and bereave the small bits of me that vanish down the plughole. I’m the lead, glistening wet as the credits roll. The screen tells me I was born on a Tuesday. How quickly we grow. In morning, I came, no ideas of yesterday—there was much to see. I look at the sky—it is the same as always. Why do I l still look? It rained a little, the hair on my arms glittered. I watched it blinking. It rained today. I readied myself for a storm but one never came. I blamed the clouds. I miss the way round tables of people feel, and crowds. It’s dark in the room. The floor is carpeted and itches through my pyjamas. The piano playing from the speaker bluntly shoves its way through the black and white, masking the silence. I don’t know what’s soon to come, and I spend minutes on my back missing futile day trips. I watch the hair I cut earlier, layering, gather with dust on the windowsill. Sometimes, in the dark, I let the words Good Night leave my lips, and pretend I’m sharing my life somehow. I get cold in bed still. It’s dark in the room. The floor is tar and retches through my sleep. The piano sways from the creaking ceiling, grunting its way to my creeping dreams. The colour asks for reason. I don’t know what room is left, and I spend minutes lying in bed, kissing the days away. I watch the mares I shut out in the morning crawl away with rust. Sometimes, in the dark, I let the words Good Night , in the dark, leave my lips, and pretend I’m sharing my life now. In the dark, in bed, I get old and dread the again and again and again and againness of it. My knees, located between where I meet the stained carpet and where it all begins, are loose socketed. I am hungry from the easy task of sleep. The rest of dinner, left on the side, has been fly trodden. I quickly place a plate atop the grooved sauce and ignore the idea of tidying. I crack the eggs out as I rock on stilts. The housing shell falls in. Sandy. Shelly. Silted. Hi, my name’s Silted. Over-used. Worn to a fine powder. Screamed from the stairwell. Said on a farewell. Come to the table! Lunch! You look like you’ve gotten thinner! Dinner! Hurry up, I made eggs. I imagine them, the eggs, painted with egg in history. Temporary stop over between acrylic and oil paints. Tempera. A fancy dress party on canvas. Egg as immortalized egg. Like a Human dressed as a photograph. Painting an egg to represent a beginning or origin is like trying to paint love. Catching the specific moment or feeling is impossible. An obsolete effort. When we see Fragonard’s Progress of Love, we see only one fragment of it. A kiss, when titled A Suffocation, becomes something different entirely. Within one moment, an image of love could also be of passion or desperation or fear or hunger. Maybe even a hunger for eggs. When we see paintings of eggs, we can read heavy doorstop books and learn about the symbolism that the painter may or may not have been channeling while filling a hole in the canvas. Few simple natural objects have such self-explanatory yet profound meaning as the egg. I watch the throbbing sun. It jabs at its walls with each of my steps to the sofa. The hot and gloss of it goes cold beside the wasted mustard smear, curtained by thick, trite. Poor white. Upstaged by the alarming yellow mound. MYTH: Happier chickens = sunnier yolks. TRUTH: Shoppers are charged nearly twice as much for eggs with yolks described as "sunny" and "golden". I read online at around nine o’clock, that "golden yolks" aren't always a sign of happier hens. They’ve just been fed paprika, carrots, red peppers, yellow peppers. Imagine if someone said happier people had pink urine, and in an attempt to deceive relatives into believing we possess a stable mentality, we ate beetroot in secret. I tell my parents I’m doing well. On the phone, tucked between my chin and shoulder skin I um and argh at their rather long-winded rendition of the weekends unfurling. The bathroom tiles are surrounded by pasted dust, rust, rose pot-purri, toast crumbs, shaved hairs, cotton wisps from buds. The laundry pile is high. I hang up and fry another egg with Carla on my screen; a salt and peppered American woman who wears an apron to the dinner table and talks about her son like I am meant to understand: I’m putting enough oil to completely coat the bottom of the pan and that's key and it seems like alot and I can already hear the comments but it's not going to stick and it's going to bring flavour. I like to crack my egg on the surface, a flat surface because when it shatters it doesn't push the shell into the egg so I always smack it on a flat surface. So right away, a lot of puffing alot of snapping and crackling and I already have brown edges and this hot oil which there's a little extra of, I’m going to spoon on to the white of the egg and avoid the yolk. Look how dramatic. It’s puffy and lacy and it takes less than two minutes and it's done. If you tried this with butter and no oil the butter would absolutely burn, blacken, char. It would be a smoky mess, it would not taste very good at all. I'm going to have another bite. Oh yes, that’s delicious. Pick him up– my white with yellow daisy. Scalloped edges frilled in the oil slick heat.Elope to the dining table, tongue ready, making sure to steady the tray with two hands. Maybe sauced, or slicked with salt. Maybe laminated with vinegar. He is handsome and still. A painting on the table. The sun beams down on my own son, my own making. The knife punctures and cheerful, happy yellow bleeds out in acute motion, singing. I eat the yellow. It’s common thought that Vincent Van Gogh swallowed canary yellow paint in an attempt to consume happiness. On the contrary, from medical notes taken in Saint-Remy asylum, Dr. Peyron explains how Gogh, on multiple occasions attempted to poison himself, by swallowing colours that he used for painting, or ingesting paraffin. It is happy inside. The orange in my throat and stomach sunning the lining of me. The white, albumen coats my abdomen. I smile with jammy jaune. Sun tan taste in my mouth. The sound of TV presenters telling me about the day seems a little more ok now that I am fed. I mop the rest up with bread. Under and over loads of leaves and introductions to new seeding trees. We are walking along the footpath in two, two metres apart and from the river we hear new sounds, babbling conversations between rocks and road pellets. In tow, going down the route to sand and sea and people up to their knees in new feeling. Swimming. Depp in the water and skin scaling cold teething bones for kick kick kicking. Learning the breathing and in for two out for two more minutes in the blue blue water of the outer crust edge of the countryside. Sea. Is it bad of me to imagine a band formed of his past lives? All of us in matching outfits and hearts sewn to our chests. We sing about the songs, shared in secret within the skin of memory. Different moments, patch-worked. Which ones tie us ? The hands on knees as we drive towards yours or mine or his or hers. The dances that we replicate to a purring beat. Absorbing. Some symbiosis of silliness. We bob our necks and crane under the weight of it. We hold hands and share the sharing. We finish caring about being special. In a dream of mine, a club forms of the people who have been in love with me. In a town hall or carpeted small bedroom, they reveal the secret ways I behaved with each, the way things remained through the new soft sweatshirt feeling, each itchy iteration . They laugh, and I am on the skirt of it, hearing through glass. I want to join, but I can’t. I bow to no applause. Thanks for watching. Thanks for coming. Thanks for listening. Thanks for feeling. Thanks for the holidays and healing. Thanks for the sharing of dreaming and scheming trips to peeling-hot places. Thanks for the ardency. Thanks for the earnest attempts at communication. Thanks for saving a place at the table, the garden. She can write him out, rubbed from grey stained paper or discarded CDs snapped in half on pavements in shards of glittered music. She can prop him against the pillowed background of only the good memories, gleaming in the best light. Rose tinted , ageing every day, she can learn to hold her own hand. To be warm at night. She might try. Such darling buds of violence in the alley way collected in the shards or petals of beer bottles, brown, sickly sweet wet and sweated from dismay. They’re half to blame for the blotted foreheads, the dream of a lonely taxi journey home. The retching, retched solitude of a bedroom. Spluttering, spattering oil muck from the sides or all around, the cracking teeth of shells and bound up sour. I rolled them in the heat for six minutes, almost seven, then skinned them with my skin and hard nail edge. To colour them crows foot brown, I drown them in the mixture. I hold them, soft and supple, in the murky water, soy sauce, vinegar, chili flakes, bitter in the simmer of the rippling skin that withers by the minute in the marinade. The eggs have made themselves up for the dinner. They are the jewels. The main courses main event. Jellied yolk throbbing by the step from hob to table top, breathing sulpherous and bronzed from the holiday drowning. Browning outer coating. Frowning from the nudity of this new dish. Delish. And then the waves came, rippling in dew skin at my toes and doing the dance they do at the lip. The blueness of them, relentless in breath. Rolling over, lolled mouth at the sight of sand, the blue, the blue, the blue, the blue. I see all the colour in the instance of a blink, but never whelmed. Blue is the swarm of sadness, the promise of dessert. Blue is love in image. Blue is no breath, teething, writhing, earth. Blue is birth.A man is in love with life, sweating under the collar for the morning to come. Hopes of linen, summer dresses in the laundry rope of alley ways and smiling at the swaying of the trees. It is simple in its setting - one bed sheet as a table sweeping white and three or four glasses tightly rimmed with wine. Some feeling of reckless. balance, a teetering of time. A man is in love with life, feeling sun on leathering skin and a full stomach feeling. Flowers known by sight but not by name are having a shine on stage, the smell of the concrete in the rain. A man is in love with the way the day comes out to be seen, again and again and again. The green of Paris is pink, apparently, with the sprinkled season of roses. I am sniffing out the sadness from my budding body, drawing on the feeling of resent. The past holds bulbs of change somewhere, earthen underground and sounding like sad songs. I am tired of the carrying, the fears. I want to see flowers and pick the runts in bundles under thumb and forefinger. I want to eat up beauty like it’s an art in itself. Pick the boldest until the ground is bald. The steam falls up the air, clumsily towards the ceiling and the hair slicks back, wet and wriggled to the cracks in the tiling. Heat, hot, rod-red metal tap gleaming and the steam keeps steaming and steaming. I lie there, door-mat flat and spike-haired from the razor, imagining a scene. A neighbour beats down the hall and into the wooden frame, down at me with eyes straining through the suds at my budding body. A question is asked of me, and the answer rises from the water - one finger pointing up, building from the bath, on a path to full extension. Steam dances from my body heat, and the arm is now upright, lead by elbow and eyes. The neighbour sighs, thanks, and flies from the scene. I rinse the dream from my eyes, soap wet slipping across the rows of hair and thighs. I pat dry my skin, I minimise pores with the cold and the steam rolls out. I have never had to think about my skin other than whether it will burn in the sun, grease slicked soft on the beach. I have felt the softness of strangers before eyes, never had to fear demise for my hyde. I have never had to worry for myself in that way. I will try to learn more, earn knowledge, pledge to stand up for what’s right and fight. I imagine myself as a woman from another climate, with my hands marbled. I turn the wheel, feel the weight of egg beaten into mealed wheat and imagine eating at a summer bench in the sun. I see my name as a Nonna, too wrinkled from sun to believe the clouds. I frown only at late dinner, and my grandchildren ask me why I have no want to be thinner. I slip along the tiles of my cupboards, smooth as knives, and the vegetable garden thrives in the hot, hot sun. I am one with the woodland, I mend holes of linen and no one knows the secret ingredient that hides in my kitchen. Folded in two, bent buckling in the gold sun of June. I rinse the sweat from the sleeves of my self. The sun reveals my second layer of skin, bruised from wearing painful minced words and lies and grazed shins. I am ironing out on the park bench, where a first kiss with a thirst for new names took place. On the park bench, Mum watching over as I peddle the training wheels around. On the park bench, missing the bus to skive learning. This village is drenched with moments for many, some silent scenarios stitched together, patch-worked and unravelling with the bleach of the sun. I am folded in two at the park bench where he saw me for the first time. I am folded into myself like some flower at sunrise and I open up at the thought of learning to ride a bicycle, about the cause of an icicle, about how to be a nice girl, on the park bench. I built a dam in the river today, lay up the sides with small stones and tried to hold back the tearful stream from summer. I remembered ice cream in the back of the car, vinegar stinging raw skin and grit filled boots. Shoots of uprooted plants that gave us a rash and the clink clink of cash hitting the pavement. I remembered half-terms, each day a new recipe at dinner and the feel of my cheeks growing thinner and thinner. At the water, calves submerged, I emerged glossy and older, twenty three summers of holidaying in the damn Mediterranean and the sun beats down on my brown hair as I dip it down in the river to stop the water as it runs. In the heat of forever, sun beaten like an imprinted pillow, the smell of coffee takes me back to time away. I itch the skin free and become me in a swim suit, upset by literally anything. Sensitive. I find myself thinking of all the ways I have been cruel, ruled out good times out of spite and slighted comments spat like the stones of a rotten fruit. I want to extract her like venom, the former me a snake writhing away into the green grass. I find myself at the junction, in hand with the wind around. The sky is clear, and the sound of television hums through double glazing and painted rainbows tacked outward facing. I walk beyond the plastic patched bus stop from another time, awkward arm growth tucked into sweatshirts and homework damp. The man from the upended life we don’t know everything about is on the other side of the road. I hear a plane go by, a rare sight, and look up. I watch it with my neck more than my eyes, craning and sharp boned at an angle at the slow, impossible speed. Me and the mad man, parallel, consider flight. I realise our tie (the sky), and wish him a goodnight. I would like to lie, back up against the down and duvet somewhere hot in early morning. I would like to hear the alarm of a disruption creep in, and poke plugged sleep from another’s eye before I roll out into the day. I would like to hear children say my new name, shared with millions everywhere asking me brush their (and partly mine) hair. I imagine the life line drawn flat, spine-like with punctuation. I imagine the influx of birthdays and junk emails, dinners and crutches from hospitals. I imagine the ring of names in a nuclear family at the bottom of a hand made Christmas card. I imagine thinking long and hard about which glasses I want for every drink. I imagine pink walls. I imagine buying a shawl and knowing the end is coming. I imagine running out of breath. I imagine death. The flowers are in the reign here, speckled in finery. The time has come to sew sequin petals, every inch shining with seedlings. Springing up, benign with patience, they wait in dirt to crown the hillside that runs heavy footed. When the day requires it, no water falling at the darker part of day, I walk out in my rested skin and shower the flowers. I give them good morning and fawn over the way they push from their beds. I am a mother to many children. I mend stems. I rest as the rain and wake as a tornado. What will come later? We are at the start of it and summer is on foot like walking toddlers. The feeling of a frenzy in the pit and burning has begun to creep our shoulders. Swinging with silk. I walk towards a thirsty river. I watch a new born cow search for its milk and watch another cow start to deliver. It is here in this valley, I was raised some mildew in the memory brushing off. The trees forget my voice but not my face. I wonder how I’d feel if they missed both. I don’t know what’s to come or what is next. I don’t know what to write or what’s the rest. June has come up swift and we are in the garden- time drips down my arm. I see a new field where tens of grass stems stand up-we breathe together. I am on the road and notice that spring has come “thanks for having me”. We are in the kitchen as I cook a carbonara the untraditional way, to use up cream- sacrilegious with alternate sauce- and my Dad is sitting on the kitchen island, legs lolling over the edge. I am spent with eyes wet from tears, a feeling of familiar ache. Treading water. “I’ve told you the story surely? When your mum and I went for a swim in Bridgend?’. He never had. “There was a rip, and your mum was swimming right in the midst of it. I went in to get her, and pushed her out to shore. By the time she was out, I nearly drowned. Life is like swimming. A lot of life can be compared to swimming.” The saucepan browning onions, I am smiling past my salted cheeks at the sound of the story, as the mushrooms tread in sauce. When I was young enough to force teeth through my gums, we went on a holiday around France in a caravan. At the wide-open mouth of a river spitting canoeists, Dad told me of the plan- arm banded with bacon fat browning, frowning beyond the rays. We were to cross the river, ducking under plastic kayaks and backstroking if need be to the crack in the earth, the stone-scattered side. Seeing him see my strength made lengthing the river melt by, arms scooping water with him by my side. Life is like swimming. A lot of life can be compared to swimming. The weather is warm here, sun shining liquid on my eye lids and the thought of blinking to miss a drip makes my greedy hole hollow out like a peach without a stone. I am outside of love, looking in through the windows of many men and inside, they are beaming. Bold, oak struts across the ceiling of their affection. Living for the routine of a breakfast at the table and being able to guess who is coming down the hall. Some humble home that bodes well in tough times is love. A hand-knit glove in snow. I imagine the aloneness of some people in their living rooms, broom barely used because the dust that builds only exhumes from their own movements. When they leave something it remains there until morning. I am walking along the road I have before, one with trees lining the edges like oil in a roasting dish with delicious frying heat rising up from leaves and green. It is a hot day, book in hand and I am making my path to the upper part of the valley. The sun is hot on my back, cracking the skies back in one practiced, smooth motion. I divide my time between page and pathway. The words are hot pink in my eyes, dancing, and the rocks under foot make me slip. Some fine line drawn between person and place, I feel my coarse heel and pretend it’s concrete. One and the same. I am surprised to hear the number of bones in the body, so few to scaffold the house in whatever weather. The sun beats down. I am at the bench, hot summer sun dripping down the cone of forearm on my side and below me is the tarmac steaming. Before me is my partner, double sided love and durable in the tearing of us. He is unaware of plans, what is in storage in the basement of our four bedroom house and the way I take my sandals off makes him sigh with love. Together we sew gloves on string for children whose names have a ring to them when called in the register. Tastefully literate in harmony. Ahead of myself, taking a step back, we just met, on the pavement. I’ll take off my sandals and he’ll be moaning at the unbuckling. The way I hit a strike at the alley, or bend my ankles diagonal after one pint. It is summer, the first melting of the sun and we are meeting one another for the first time. I imagine our lives, the way the word wife sounds, and he is moaning at the way I take off my sandals first; excited by the exit of skin. The river swells behind me, memory subsiding of a shadowed morselled multipack pair of briefs. A brief pause. I am on the bench, hot summer dripping down the cone of forearm and the bells are gunning for chorus. Bullet heart race. Arched feet on the concrete, bare. He likes the way I tie my hair. I have found dessert. Delicious and a luxury. Well fed already, I have life and goals and money steadily dripping into my account but there’s space for a love. Dessert. Dripping down the cone of my forearm on my side and below me are my sandals. I am at the supermarket, trolley trailing and the pain from lugging produce is amassed in my arm crease. At the refrigerator section I mention to myself a need for some more friendship, ran out half way through last week, had to make do. I skirt the corner, clipping at the frozen chips and collect the knee-jerk aggression of road rage. I pick up a bag of balding father on the phone for a moan. I get a little lonely, a pound of pleasure and at the till, if it’s on offer, a weeks supply of chewing the fat with no one. It is a sorry cart, a darting down the aisle march of routine and at home I unbag the weight of it as the kettle screams. I see them, thousands, in pieces on the screen. Upset with melting time, and irritated. The flour’s sold out, the option’s ruling out and no, longer phonecalls drouting or instilling inner doubt. The familiar faces or some life before the doors closing, stepping away from warmth - are fading. No more hand held out or door stopper at the party, drafting air through. Only emails and if you’re lucky, a letter, too. I see them, on the screen. I dream of holding hands, of beaming. Slip stream bicycles, sea bream in tinfoil and a hand helping me get each and every single one of the bones. You’re on my team, we’ll score a goal. Tackling. Racking each dish after soap suds and eating together. Marigolds on. Rubber tyres in driveways. Looking at them from the side of my eyes and feeling for the skin in the cries of a warm wind. Summer. Spinning in some underground bar. Hand on my knee in the car. Days without it. Doubt the end is near. Feeling all the feelings without skin tearing the fear away. Rhyming as some friendship, the rhythm of the keys. I want to be with friends now. I want to see them, please. For coins in pixels, you can buy heartbreak in a boned corset, or some steamed cotton of exam jitters. A taste of fresh bread in blue jeans. The sight of the italian coastline, salt taste seawater in a bucket hat. Tears in canvas, stains in fleece and each hung to dry for a price. We throw the walls on the fire, doorway cracking in the blaze. It is home of dreams, of old beams and chalked stories. A mould of nightmares, a hideaway and it goes up in flames. Standing on the outside, skirt warm, static with polyester, a tear escapes but we say it’s the smoke.As the embers rise, we see sparks- the pieces of night where parents are woken in the dark, the bit of the garden patch for mole hills and waiting in the car park. The shed, inside out and ashen feeling peaky from the full stop. Childhood over, we stand around or outside of it like brackets. She eats dinner with her wong arm, the other outstretched long in the kitchen sink among dirty spoons and dishes. A minor burn from earlier, prickling in the speckled heat and suds of onion buds and scum. An accident, skin peeled, indented, reflecting flesh of sweat like meat. The pan and plates are paused to stay in ernest on the hob, one arm resting on the porcelain basin with an out-breath. It could have been worse off, sight intact and they cheers to that. The burnt skin doused and put away - the spatted sauce wiped up. Sitting up, right at the nape of night, I draw nets on sliced paper. Thin ink and black and full of all there is to catch, coming slowly. Each point a peak of interest, or missed syllable. Each knot a sorry? or oh, don’t worry. I shake them out like laundry and catch my feelings tight inside of them, slipping through the holes I’ve drawn from nothing. Beginning with paper full of white and ending with a cluster of holes - to begin with more than to end. To mend a gap. At the table, I have learnt to share silence equally. There’s always enough to go round and I split it up like string. Half and half and half again with time to send a goodnight text or piece of the day that’s been hiding in the rest. I draw and catch the eyes whose contact I’ve never met, within each of the knots in my nets. The garden grows at night in rows of green divett soil under the duvet of water from earlier. It is dark, the warmth from the sun running down the stems of the creeping beans or vegetable legs. Bending with the air and upset by the earth stones left after a tired scattering or wind fall. The tumult, upturn, reversed undergrowth. The worm, the mulch and much love or attention given in the day suspended until the morning. Waiting in the shadows, closed off from the fox or night birds the absurdity of being beautiful without our eyes begins. Closed up caving in, doors closed and leaves inside themselves. The plants are amounting to bigger things. I looked in the mirror and saw a friend. One I hadn’t seen in a while. Sitting in the warm water of silence with you, sentences left in the ether and either one of us ignoring the need for sound. It is rare to feel that, believe in the place it holds at a dinner table, passing the folded napkin or salt shaker without noise, and welcoming the void. I miss sitting in silence with you, no need to ask the small things. In the introspection, shunning ideas of otherness, I arrest my thoughts. Flattening the prospect of company and dealing with the notion of eternity. Just one look at eyes, sore from connectivity, it feels hard to hold the idea. I sit inside myself, warm and speckled. Hemming over, tightly warp and wefted. The thought of love uneasy like a left hand writing another name. Unsteady, ready and equipped for mark making. The white haired man with his bounty ice cream says hello at the junction, and the woman with her two dogs doesn’t. The tree sways regardless of the wind direction. There are eggs for sale. The sign is vandalised and the dramatisation is playing on the big screen after lunch. The lawn is mowed, and the seeds are protected under sown grass, plaster is drying. The man in his mobility scooter is indicating, the river undulating, the frustrated teenagers in their too-short beds are masturbating and the students away from term time tables are procrastinating. Everything is in order, repetition repetition repetition man with icecream and no eyebrows somehow says hello at the exact same point on the road, the load filled lorry passes at the exact moment I do, repetition repetition repetition. Sometimes it’s not poetry, or harmony choreography or rhythm in time, it’s not seasoned, or fitting or shifting with momentum, instead it’s lost, dislocation and disarray, it’s thinking over syllables of sounds you wish you’d say. I am trying to find my voice. It’s hiding. Shy. Underneath my swollen eyes or calloused hands from all the books. Confused. Trying to copy the success of others, or caricaturing an idea of who I want to be. Something blurry and impossible to hold. I catch it only briefly, in one word or image but before it’s down in letters I feel it over like a film cut in half or a song I’m enjoying on the radio disappearing with the keys out of the ignition. I hungrily eat up the rhythm of other people, the way they use words like seasoning, with cutting full stops so unctuous. Many times I resist the process, putting safety down instead of the organic feeling of a sentence untouched like cracking open an egg and hoping no shell falls in, or hoping the yolk won’t split. I have no idea who or what I’m trying to get out, who or what I’m supposed to be. The way the leaves on the silver birch outside my door wobble drunk in the wind. The way the vitamin d capsule I press against my tongue changes faster than I can notice. Having a new cut on my finger from the bread knife every week. The taste of my mouth before I brush my teeth in the morning, mint resuscitation in the bathroom. Horseradish sauce with everything because we’re out of mustard. Barbed wire with wool wrapped around it clogged bath drains. Making the bed and sleeping with a hot water bottle in May. Don’t you worry, i know how to have a good time in times like these times and if ever there’s a point of invisibility, maybe behind some bench or falling tree I can smile the beaming stretch of a mouth alone. You best believe in luck or fortune if you want a happy horizon due to unforeseen dodginess. I put the hopes in the garden with the rest of the bin bags and we watch them rot, set fire to them sooner or later. Oh, it’s already lit? I’m going to pick up a picket fence and throw the spokes on the fire, feed it hungry like some journeyed sailor. I used to get a cutting itch in the eye from blades of grass but they’re seasoned now. Salt and pepper freckles on our skin that no man will see for months, unless digitised. My sister and I are growing tighter to the air, and sharing secrets despite the lack of new news. We try to work into our skin the feeling of friends, but know the lack of clapping and crowds is seeping into us. Away from the sun, we sit at the screen and dream of separation. Sometimes we don’t want to smile. I have not done new things, just formed dough and risen at the same time. I have eaten at around one, around one table as part of a four person family and I have cycled to the post box. The man with the carton of milk on the roadside stood there again, and again we said good afternoon. The changes can’t come soon enough and the only thing that I welcome without some bitterness is the fullness or lack thereof in the moon. It’s the same here again, only some days do I clean the room I sleep in, and the reason for this routine is assumed to be unchanged. I only briefly hear the news. Will there be a moment like the matching up of eye lines on one point, black in the sky? A balloon let loose by some child in a pram below the by-line. I think about the landing point. Some rubber rotting underfoot or scraped back taught on a nettle somewhere. Such important moments left for buried in a hedgerow. If the bird you saw the morning everything changed was somewhere in a nest taking care of its young would you like to see it? I imagine all the litter getting bitter. It’s May Day and the balloons let go of are in rows of hedges somewhere. Maybe I am some loving pairs shared memory - Example: do you remember watching that girl on the bus touching up her hair after the rain? That was when I knew you felt the same. All about the skin really, or walls that cave us indoors. It’s been some time since the pressing up of strangers on a shooting star of an underground vehicle. It’s been some time since the messing up of hair at the airport terminal. I am sorry for our loss of times together. I am sorry for the rotting weather going un-bathed in, and the birthday party invitations left unscathed and unsheathed. It’s upsetting, all this make-the-most of the situation-ing. I, lead down, lay heavy now in sheets and somehow tired in the best cotton. Creeping over cliche, floorboards underfoot, I announce myself to the night like a slipped secret. I am sorry for myself, the noise some blanket I’m allergic to. Coming up in hives. Down on the street the cars are passing by. I hear them in the scratching of my eyelashes, miles away. Did I ever tell you that a river runs by my house? There’s more water than grinding clutch and ignition. We smile at the slight change inside of it like some distant relative after years. If I’d have known that you were worried, I’d have come running like a ladder to you. Passing by, the water cries about the days melting. I’m sorry it’s been a while of tough feeling. I’ve been sowing seeds for a better time. I would rather not, I’m knotted up - hands tied behind my back in a not fun way. Thank you for the gift card and the invitation to stay. I am upset about the situation, swaying in the solitude. Thank you for the disregard. It has been. It has. I sit in my me suit with sweat on my forehead. This life is shrinking. I feel like a pop corn kernel, bright hot, with a piece of string holding it together. Ready to explode. I think it’s down the garden somewhere, eating at the grass and sighing or signing autographs on bare leaves. The scandal of it. With blooded knees, sat on like some upholstered skin cushion, I thought I was your favourite, fleshed out and taught how to walk straight or sway from pavings. Tightened up and brimming seas escape us, left to dust some dark place. I thought I was your favourite. Did there ever live a time where all this never ended. Did there ever live a place where I was still your favourite? I’ve been foraged from the moss of mostly left out memories. In baskets, blooming slowly. It’s good to get outside. I am walking down the road, hair washed and looking it, wearing something I have never seen before. It is pressed, fresh and scented in detergent- organic. I am light, the sun comes out from my eyes and the weather is shining a glow on me, delectable. My peace is detectable. At one with myself I stride beyond bakeries, smiling at shop keepers I know well. The familiarity of the borough is beyond description. A choreographed routine of fish-mongers to green grocers, post office to tailors. My hemmed trousers skim the sole of my boots, flattering to the leg length and flattening the earth beneath my feet. The street is full of people but my face gleams the most. A roast dinner awaits me at home, made by the most loving husband to exist. It is with this in my ears, a song saccharine to any new listener that glistens the eyes in my sockets. I am a rocket. A firework. Life has filled me up. No matter the passer-by, old lovers or friends of mine I am happy to see them, aired out like laundry with breeze and an ease of nostalgia. How lovely to see them, the hem of my trousers still perfectly suiting my leg length. I am a person best fit to my street. Life is discreet in its challenges and the way I step my feet one after the other tells the people I meet that I have joy, bit by bit, sometimes daily and it buoys me to this part of the round world. I am curled up in laughter, snail like at home and I love feeling the stone of me soften with years of fear and moaning, roaming, unknowing. A glazed carrot side dish. A braised leg of lamb. A hand on my knee as I pass him the pan. A drink from a silver or clink of a glass. A life in one dinner that somehow lasts and lasts and lasts. I talk of the people I’ve met in the street and we re-enact greetings and say how it’s sweet to remind ourselves of the different friends we have been. We share in the feeling over seconds of greens and it feels real- the tiniest morsel of truth being chopped at and eaten by prongs of stainless steel. On the deck, above the shadows, I thought of the earth underneath our fingernails - home to life in doses so small and impossible. Days spent turning soil over, then spent turning over in soil. Dust to rusting wood panelling in our best dressing. My skin is burnt from building a wall in the sun, and I run to the postbox sometimes without a letter in my pocket. I wave to the neighbour I’ve never met. I wet my hair but see no point in washing it. The seeds we plant are coming out from earth, ready for what’s next. I come out of the door and spread my skin flat for the light, peel away from the built walls and brickwork. In my hands it is a friend or family, related and relative. It is soft - the flour. I mill about. I wait for rising with the morning. I feel good about it, the grain and seeds. It is familiar - wholewheat flour and some warm water, the temperature of myself. It is almost good - under-proved, maybe, but I eat it toasted with butter, warm and better than the bread that comes in a bag, sliced. Is there water on the table? Yes. Ok. I’ll just wash my hands, there’s dirt on them from the garden. Ok, see you out there- don’t take too long, it’ll go cold. Ok. I am standing at the sink washing brown from my pink and feeling a shrinking inside myself feeling. I think it’s to do with the changes that are happening in every single house and garden. The fright of it all. What happens if we come back from this, or out of this and not a thing is different? We look at each other the same. The roads are full of shoppers and the crops are tamed and chopped down to soil. I want the ordinary to change. I want big skies and flights abroad to be a treat. A miraculous thing. I want to pick a vegetable, basket it and cook it with care. Thinking about the hours, days and water, hair tucked into my shirt, that went into it. The care and sunlight. I want to walk through a city and marvel. I want conversations with strangers. I want shared hope. I want to hear about the ways that big groups and government plan to help. I want more. The earth in my nails embedded for sleep, no use getting rid of it really, there’ll be more tomorrow. I’ve been spending time in the garden, gardening. In the kitchen, cooking. I am learning about all of the things I didn’t really care about. I tried making pizza with wholemeal flour and plain flour today. It didn’t work, it was too thin. It hung onto the tin. In the throat, the words emulsify, blend up smooth and softened. No salt or syllables, mingled or sung just the wrong thing, said anyway.In their lotion and dusted aprons, on the table with tea and bread, baking in the sun, neighbouring books or hanging up coats in return for hook and eye, pin a tail on the moments, the village comes out to roll in the light. Eating lunch, running to the shop without tyres. Tracking the sky. Looking at eyes instead of screens. I saw the river by bicycle and it was serene. I saw the tree I used to climb up and dream. I saw the bus stop I waited at, overgrown green. I saw the boat where I fel