St Albans Churchyard where they buried your sister

There is no crowd or witness murmur 

Only the bell tolls with each proud pelt

And hums as it eases

When you kick up some dead leaves 

And earthworms are scattered up with the mulch

Your hands with crags and stony dents 

Placing each thorny flower into its careful pose 

I don’t call your name 

I fondle my own hands— cold 

And Autumn berries saddle the leaves 

Of a tree with a cotton rabbit on its uncovered feet

The mound is the size of the headstone

I follow the flight of a ladybird 

On the search for a half-open door

Or a crow with bottle-caps in its beak 

Or a fox dragging limp feathers into its earthy home

A bundle of badger melding with the tarmac 

That will be bones tomorrow 

The sun leans into the cluttering roofs

Gathers up its caustic rays and streams 

The sober clouds are diffusing now

You come back, bending 

Under the tree’s archway

And I don’t call your name 

Something rattles, 

Like a stone in a can,

In the organs of your motorbike 

I warm my hands in the pockets of your jacket 

Some uncollared dog chases desperately after us 

There’s something written on the overhanging bridge

Graffiti so wet it rains down the brick 

A moment of apocalyptic message 

Then gone again 

Photo by Zach Lezniewicz on Unsplash

I went to sleep in my bed and woke up in my basement

When you were a baby

And They saw you 

And They birthed you, They bore you 

They handed you to Mother 

She dressed you and bathed you, 

She taught you

Mirrored fingers cast back your large, sleepless eyes 

She cradled you for the first of many times 

The finite twists in your cloth-wrapped torso 

Your wrists stuck clamped and birling out 

Your self unravels as twirling paper strips 

Your childhood home 

Now a map and a blueprint

Of crooked door frames and diagonal notches 

Taken out of stair steps 

In years or inches 

Solid wax on the table

The belching plumbing 

That climbs up the walls 

The sharp corner that punctured the soft part of your skull 

The first time you fell from a tree that’s as old as I am

And a moth swept past you

Owl-like eyes on its wings 

Large— like dinnerplates

The memory of which will flash like a bulb 

Like the first time you cried alone 

And how you could recount in detail 

Your heart, a rising plane engine 

And buzzing of blood that pools in the hollow drum 

Of your ears 

Your eyes, 

Bagged in plastic 

And projecting foreign pictures

You clasped your knees to your chest 

To keep the cage from bursting open 

To keep it spewing out as a faulty faucet 

While light glowed through the tiny gaps in your fingers 

Locked and barred like dog teeth to signal

That time 

is passing 

You swallowed that pain like the rising vomit

In the bathroom cubicle of your primary school 

And the loneliness dampened your bedroom floor 

Spun you drunk 

Took you up like a tongue

Lifted your sailless boat of a bed and stole you

While a flurry of moths spattered at the window 

Like tossed rocks of future lovers (all of which you’d never let touch you) 

Bumbling for the opening 

Your head on the sodden sponge of your pillow

While you cradled your stony body in

They scooped; kissed the candle, lit on your desk

Desperately scorched their furs and their fans 

Fell to the floor, weighed down by the flames

Their impulse was a tinder sparking 

On a child’s tight fist of damp moss in the forest 

When you were a baby

And They saw you 

And They birthed you, They bore you 

They handed you to Mother 

She dressed you, bathed you, 

She taught you

Mirrored fingers cast back your large, sleepless eyes 

As she cradled you for a finite time

Whatever I decide

White wing moths crash at the windshime

One day I will choose to be alive 

As the last paper thread lets go of my fingertip

I fall through the bed

Sink in like the rot

Bend through the floor

Stream and split through the prism 

I know these things come back in other forms 

ORIGINALLY titled: “extermination”, then “go away/ don’t leave me alone”, then “uroboros”, “Time loops” and “death drive” until finally settling on this haha. I’ve been MIA because I’ve been kind of sick, but I’m okay. Maybe I can get back to writing soon, when my life feels more stable and normal  ❧

Photo by Hayley Maxwell on Unsplash