All I ever wanted was to crave you,
to filter out the hollow caves
and crashing waves of sound,
to leave the shore for the depths
All I wanted was to swallow you whole,
but you’re barely a mouthful,
barely a breath,
No-one in my family will admit that my sister has an eating disorder. It’s just how things are with us, I think. Once I had a therapist ask who I’d phone in a crisis – I like that, “crisis”, that little verbal sleight-of-hand that both covers and implies all the falling apart, bullet in glass, vomit and blood awfulness that a crisis actually involves. I said I’d phone the Samaritans.
do you remember walking on the beach together
the wind was a thin wail, numbing us,
carding cold fingers through our hair
until you were blue with it.
the tide sliding out until
wreckage and bits of driftwood rose out of the water
like bones shyly showing through skin.
please eat, i wanted to tell you,
please, just eat.
but you could no more just eat
than i could swallow the entire sea.
I pass through the barbed-wire fence like a ghost,
go unnoticed by the sniffer dogs and the border officers
with their masked faces, their canisters of tear gas,
and am welcomed onto the ferry
by a smiling P&O hostess.
Darling, I’m sorry; I broke
and started smoking again,
even though lung cancer killed your aunt
and we hear the hacking start of it
in your mother’s breathing now. Continue reading “Confession”
There are a lot of ways I can play this,
a lot of patterns to paint these walls with,
a lot of paper to cover the cracks.
I can build myself a skin out of the scraps I find
in action films and shitty novels,
splicing this guy’s wit with that guy’s cynicism
with that other guy’s pulsing resentment,
weaving trope into trope,
grafting them onto my bones. Continue reading “Skin”