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Breezy, not bright, stems of crispy grass
Whisked about my ankles
I was regarded, chewing,
By ten pairs of curious eyes

My blanket set beneath an oak
Eight hundred years of shade fanned out
Above and wrapped me
Whispering of history
Its own, mine and his

Henry’s house at my back
As for two hours I indulged
A novel having no right to my time

And he came, focusing into view
As though he were rendering
From the past, before my eyes

And, this time, it was to be his voice
That so reminded me
Of family
For he seemed to be
My kin
And recognisable
As one who holds
My trembling and sorrow

Forever he has known
Of my wish
My fear and breathlessness
Indivisible from his comings
And goings

Three hours
Of having been held underwater
And yet being able to breathe
In and out of his presence
Was not long enough
Nor ever enough.
Full of love and tears
the hour late.
I've been ******* all day
cursing myself for clumsiness
and unimportant inability.

Fed up of being fed up
bored with my own thoughts
and sick to death
of seeing kids in snowsuits.

All it takes is a simple shake
like a dog coming out of a lake.
But that hate sticks to me,
and drags me back
to where I once lived.

"**** this" I say aloud
enjoying the swearing that I'm alllowed
relishing the indignity of self-pity
and the thoughts that rattle
as marbles in a bag.

No-one can make me
and so cannot break me.
I am me: ***** and uncommon
bitten fingers and a permanent sulk on.
Pick a little bit from the bottom of your pocket
Make a fist and hold it very tight
Grab a little courage where the fluff lives
Everything is going to be alright.

The bottom of the pocket is the safest
Curl your hand and catch your waning fight
No-one else will see your nails digging
Into palms or knuckles going white

Down in the pocket’s where your guts are
Look skywards and believe in coming light
Take hold of a fistful of pocket
And I promise you will make it through the night.
I wrote this after I was admitted to hospital suffering from the effects of Covid. I was standing in a triage area, waiting to be assessed, struggling to breathe and feeling more scared than I ever recall feeling before. My hands were in my pockets, making fists and I was digging my nails into my palms as a way of trying to focus and calm myself. Thankfully, owing to the superlative care of the  UK's National Health Service ('the NHS'), I made it through and was discharged six days later. I'm still recovering, and my experience has changed me - for the better, I think. Every experience should change us in some way, shouldn't it?
Lack of touch has rendered me numb
Kisses left unkissed, cold-handed, cursory
Fleeting swipes of barely-love
Have become and are dwindling

I burned out long ago
But love you no less
I promise, I swear
Hand-on-heart and always

My head tells me daily
To be warm, put my arms around you
And squeeze... just squeeze
So easy, little, simple
But daily I tie my arms behind me
And the drips sink beyond my fingertips

Terrified of what’s leaving me
I do nothing to reel it back
Inert, lazy, dead, ice-cool
All my heat has dispersed
Pooling about my feet
Before draining silently away.
Underline me in that little black book
of your mind’s eye,
tapping a pencil on your teeth
and remember when
last time I saw your face
was the last time
was the last time.

And there can be no desire
hotter, brighter, fitter
than obsession in miniature.
A pair of heavy, darkly-polished oak doors swing open, throwing moonlight across a wide expanse of pale marble hallway, veins in the stone winding like sinews into the shadows beyond.

Gilded in silver light, I enter. The steel tips of my heels click out a dreamy staccato, treading in the footsteps of princes, duchesses, rogues and queens. Their faces gaze down upon me from the high walls. Immortalised in oils, their traditional, inscrutable countenances reveal little of their passions, furies and secret obsessions.

I turn towards a chair in one corner, letting the heavy coat damp from the night air, slide from my shoulders. I lay it carefully over the velvet upholstery, shivering slightly in the chill, unmoving atmosphere inside the house.

I move toward the centre of the hall. Click… click… click…. click. My heels tap out an intent. Upon a small table, a crystal vase holds a single red rose. In rude bloom, the rose has let go of three petals, they lie as perfumed tears upon the table.  

An envelope is propped against the vase. Unsealed. Unnamed. It doesn't need to be addressed for me to know its content. Virtually every goodbye I've experienced has been unaddressed: I can't bear them any other way. A personalised parting ladens the heart, eventually rotting away to leave a brand in the exact shape of its pain.

I reach out a crimson-nailed finger and lightly stroke the envelope. The action pulls at the cuff of my silk shirt, exposing four rows of pearls circling my wrist. They gleam mellowly in the moonlight, exactly the same colour as the skin on his back.

I hadn't wanted him to leave, but I was compelled not to have him feel indebted to me. His love was weighty, dense like hard-packed snow and he wore his sadness like an overcoat. A good overcoat, and one which suited him, with deep pockets of melancholia and often-visited regret.

A cloud sails over the moon, veiling a fleeting wish for his return. The moon knows when to place a finger to the lips, lest foolishness begin drumming insistent fingers against our better judgement.

I turn and walk back toward the doors, pushing against their resistance, closing myself off to such thoughts.

In almost total darkness, the sound of my heels echoes again. A determined, resolute tattoo upon the path of my own better judgement.

Unseen, the rose drops another petal.
I am I am I am
Sadness, floating
On a well-pool seeing my own face
From above
I am, I am

I tried not to think of you
Scrubbing my mind with bleach thought
And you just came back cleaner

I am I am I am
Sadness, suffocated
Holding down, holding in
I am. I am.
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