I’m walking into a room made up images.
These are all images of myself
I assumed them from my figurative past,
Now they’re gathering dust on the shelf.
6 years old.
‘That’ day has come
‘lay down’ ‘legs apart’
‘Strip.’ Forcefully stripped.
I’m sitting here, wondering, is there still an us. Will there be, an us? Or, was there never an us to save. Nothing left but pieces. The polaroid pictures strung like bunting in my bedroom, couldn’t you have ripped the rope and dragged it out, like you did with your things? It only took a single touch and I, unravelled. I wasn’t wound tight enough, besides, the knot is always tighter when you’re not the one tying it.
At one her father and mother locked eyes
The birth of a girl brought dread to their lives
A parental love, too strong to watch ache
Emerging through doors, a babe in blue awake. Continue reading “Bacha Posh”
Is empty there is no
Tenant here they’ve left you left
First but left the door open
In case you’d come back and you
Did, shield yourself from the Continue reading “Better an Empty House”
For as long as anyone could remember, Shannon Fowler had wanted to be a Mother. Even as a toddler, long before her parents even contemplated having to give her the “birds and bees” talk, little Shannon Fowler could often be glimpsed in her families garden, pushing a gaudy pink pram around the perimeter and cooing to her teddy bear within as though it were her own flesh and blood. Indeed, this phase of playing with dolls as though they were babies was something that Shannon did not grow out of until she turned thirteen and even then, the decision to relinquish this once-endearing display Continue reading “This Will Put You Off Having Children”
I find it strange that you still live there, in the house your mother told us not to buy because the roof was falling in and the sink crawled with cockroaches. I remember the look on your face as you disobeyed her for the first time, a mix of exhilaration and fear. You put your half of the deposit down the next day and I did the same, even though it left me with $40 to my name. We were childhood sweethearts, and we thought this was us growing up. A week later, you moved your belongings out of your mother’s house and wouldn’t see her again for a year. I sent her a letter every month to let her know you were okay. Sometimes it was a lie. Besides, she never wrote back. She blamed me. Continue reading “What I Never Said”
My brother died on a Saturday. That morning we’d left him and my sister to mind the shop while Mutti took me on her errands. In the summer of 1939 she’d only just started working as a seamstress of sorts. Letting out waistbands, taking in waistbands, changing the neckline of a dress to make it look entirely new – odd jobs that were quick but required an experienced hand to get those neat, parallel stitches. It was all the fault of the church coffee ladies. Mutti had taken over the social club at the start of the year, and the minute those crow-eyed omas got their claws on her embroidered napkins, her fate was sealed. Continue reading “The Day Before”
The wind lashed the banners. Moaning, it swept past the soldiers leaving their arms and legs shaking. Most of them looked out across the plain, heads close to their spears, fingers clutching the edges of their shields. Even though the light of the stars and the moon was cut away by the clouds, they knew exactly what lay on the other side of the expanse. Others were leaning over, propping up their helmets with free hands. Puke punctured the air. Continue reading “The Heroine of Anwae”
Writers are creatures of comfort, rituals and rhythms that we are loathe to break. There’s a fair logic behind many of these: getting stuck with writers’ block is a nightmarish hell, akin to having all your sinuses block up simultaneously while also being creatively constipated. These little tricks are our last defence against the dark. Continue reading “Write What You Don’t Know”