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martha May 2019
I’ve always been good at navigating. I can find my way in a crowd or a city unknown to me. I no longer get shaky when I think about getting lost. Asking strangers for directions has never been a problem. My legs take me as far as I need to go, and my feet share secrets with the road to bargain with back in the bazaar of my head. We know how to get there. We usually do.  I tried going to my happy place today. Turns out it’s hard to pinpoint on the myriad of maps I’ve been making since I was 4 years old. I don’t know where to start. I don’t know what counts anymore. Places I once knew to glow yellow from the inside out have dimmed, and most old memories have the scrap of a taint too sharp to touch still attached to them. I have problems with letting go. I find it hard to forget the same way an elephant keeps count of every word anyone’s ever said. You would think this would be an advantage. Sometimes it isn’t. It is hard to try and write new on a slate that was never wiped clean. I have changed. I am envious of everyone able to close the boxes they’ve packed away. Because the lid on mine never seems to fit properly. It is tiring to be responsible for your own hurt every time you have to hold the door shut to stop the past from lingering. Nails ready to dig into the New you’re doing your best to treasure. I think about the temporary nature of all things. How no one is invincible. No one is ever as perfect as we project.  I am not without my flaws or faults. In fact, they have grown bouquets on my sleeves and have built their own corsages on my wrists for when my heart is too heavy to smile for the camera. I think of the “who” rather than the where. The bubbles I have collected with my breath and held with full air in the hopes they don’t burst. Their rainbow undersides and defiance to my gravity while never floating too far away outside my hazy atmosphere. The happy they have given me to make my own. The happy they radiate during visiting hours. The happy that soaks into the knowledge that I sometimes do the same. I am grateful. Always grateful. I may not have bought my house yet but I can always keep renting the flat where the couch is always cosying up to a comfy I am lucky to accommodate. It still smells like warmth and conversations  yet to come once they leave. Until next time. Let yourself in.
martha May 2019
Surface tension
Snips away at the inner bruising
Behind the eyes the windows are shut
And the curtains drawn
Run fingers over hidden ribs in the early morning
Witching hours
When fairy dust can decorate the pores
For imaginations sake

Morning skinny is now a norm
I plaster the walls of my subconscious
With posters of picture perfect shells

What they want
What you want
What I have convinced myself I think you want
What I want

What we want

I want to stop
I have told tall tales as unstable as my legs
Written them in invisible ink
Doused with sour lemon stings
So only I can see them
They appear before I eat
And in the quakes of my stomach aches

I know it is there to protect me
The most important parts of my body
The bubble which constantly pokes at me to ask
“what if there was nothing more than me
What if we couldn’t see
Shapes or sizes or colours or better
What if we couldn’t see pretty

Would that make you happy?

do I make you happy?”
martha May 2019
They knocked quietly again
Asked my eyelids for entry to pass
The threshold of my frontal lobe
Patterned the two doors in twin fingerprints
Can the thoughts from today come out to play?
I reached with fingers crossed
The way I always do
And let sway the weeping willows and
Barren bank of my sedated brain
Wishing for breadcrumbs breaking clarity
seeding lily pads and ponds

But it goes dark
The streetlamp glows monochrome
And the river runs mute
A face appears in familiar fashion
Who are you wearing tonight?
Vapid hand-me-downs in shards of
Visions kept unkempt in your resemblance
Everything I know you not to do
Comes streaming from your eyes
Like every tear that’s ever stung
Learned the taste of a tsunami by watching
The waves peel layers from my skull

It throbs around my throat
I watch as the impossible performs
And the fears take centre stage
Puppets with the same shadows as yours
Identical to all my insecurities
Suspended in my own stupidity
For carrying them down the hallway
warming them by the fire
Expecting them to leave hand in hand
With the waning of the ochre moon

But they forget to close the door behind them
And the worst of them comes to the fore

They don’t always burn away with the sunlight
They can’t wait to come back for more
martha May 2019
You called again last night
Dusk was slumped over the window frames
and my eyes had adjusted accordingly

You were a mirage of poorly put together pixels framed by the grey of your bedroom walls
Lit by your digital enthusiasm

“how are you?”

I tell you that I’m fine
You ask about school
my friends
my last training session
Echo chambers of average

“I think I’ll be home next week,”

I tell you that’s great
I don’t say much else

I don’t tell you about the quiet that will come when we hang up
How the silence slaps the stone of the brick house you used to hold on both your shoulders because mine were still too weak to take the weight

“you should turn the lights on,”

You tell me you miss me
To give our dog your hug
The phone line whispers crackles while I wait for you to finish

“be nice to mum and dad, okay?”


“don’t stay up too late,”


“love you, I’ll see you soon.”

I mimic your message
Let the distance readjust
Hum the note the speaker makes when your voice has been removed from the orchestra

The lights stay off
The curtains still open
I sit in your familiar absence once again

Waiting for the light
To turn back home
not from your perspective, for m x
martha May 2019
hues of pale peach wash
the air in solar flare soap
cherry blossom shoes
martha May 2019
It is hard to write about something you are always so full of
Constantly overflowing with that you can barely see the brim of the bowl anymore
from how often it has disappeared beneath the ebbing ocean
Sometimes they come so fast you don’t have time to decipher the foam

My heart has been held softly between two safe palms for over a year now
There have been times it has been caressed so carefully
I can’t tell the difference between skipping beats and catching breath

When its edges have fit perfectly into grooves eroded over time
for ten fingerprints that can’t be replicated
Codes we constructed together
and secret knocks only the hands of our internal clocks can count the rhythms of

There have been times they have squeezed a little too hard to tell
Accidentally scraped the surface without intending to
Followed by however much body heat is necessary to help the healing
With extra to spare in case of emergencies

Reality can’t keep the roses red every time winter comes to visit

But it has painted my laugh lines permanent
And keeps my dimples occupied

He knows the mechanics of my face word for word
he can read my heavies in a microcosmic glance
before they even get the chance to bite my tongue to stop me spilling

I am comfy in his loud and in his quiet
I am warm in his laugh
Soft in his smile
Giving back comes so easy when the receiving end is often mine

Falling further every day has made me best friends with gravity
And soulmates with the years ahead waving from a distance

Full of arms wide open
And two mouthfuls of laughter
for h x
martha May 2019
1:19am again

spine curls into a question mark
hands sing sonatas of symbols
while head keeps track of seconds passed
and days lost

toes tuck absent-mindedly into socks
shy and scared of being sought
for hiding in such a place
their secret hideaway in sleep

hearts still thumping
says goodnight to bloodstreams
with quiet pulsing kisses

bathes the rest of body
in thin coats of keep steady

ready to deliver dreams
fated to their impermanence
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