Life Moves On

I went back through my life
In old diaries
Photographs
On social media, in embarrassing posts
Tagged by friends
On nights out
In the club, surrounded by strangers
Followed by scribbled notes
On hungover mornings
With hints of regret hidden
Between words written with shaking hands.
It was a stepping stone
This looking back
From one world to another –
From youthful freedom
To forty hours a week, working
As a drone
Some faceless soul
Whose memories can surface only
On Saturday nights,
Returning momentarily
To those old diaries
Photographs
And social media

Things to Live For

New movies
New shoes
The carefree, welcome feeling
Of a mid-afternoon snooze
Cheese pizza
Chocolate cake
How the sun seeps through the clouds
At the moment of daybreak
Big dreams
Old friends
The relief and celebration
When the working week ends
Not much
It’s true
Just a little longer with me
And a little longer with you

Beneath his Fingernails

The soil was rough and irritating beneath his fingernails. No matter how much he tried to dig it out from under them, there was still some left there. He could no longer see it, but he could feel it, buried deep.

He slipped the pointed end of the nail file beneath his thumbnail again, and hissed though his teeth when he felt the skin rupture. The constant filing had worn his nails down, and turned the skin so raw that it had finally broken. Blood pooled down in two directions: down his thumb and across his palm, and down the metal nail file, dripping onto his jeans. He withdrew the nail file, but he could still feel the soil there beneath the nail.

Other reminders hovered over him, too. He could still see the empty stare she had worn, once a look of surprise from his sudden, violent outburst, turned blank from the death of the light in her eyes. She had been heavy as he had carried her out of the house and into the car, and as he had lifted her out of the boot and onto the ground. Heavy and cold.

He had started digging with a shovel, but at some point, his growing panic had taken over and he had sunk down onto his knees in the dirt to dig with his hands. Scoops of dirt had been thrown behind him wildly, some of it landing on his trousers and shoes, working its way beneath his clothes. At least, that was how it felt. He had showered for more than an hour, but the sensation had not gone away.

Once he had buried her and made his way back to their home – to his home, now – there had been time for him to stop and think. He had not meant to push her so hard that she fell and cracked the back of her head on the counter. It had been an accident. Not that anybody would understand that – it was not something he would have believed.

The soil and the memories would never leave him, and eventually someone would put two and two together and come up with a correct answer. But for a while, a short while, he could limit his punishment to the image of her empty eyes and the blood beneath his fingernails.

111.

Curious – a wonderfully vivid poem.

february stationery

I run my tongue around the back of my teeth
pushing the perceived space underneath my gums
and being surprised when my teeth hold fast

I’ve had a repeated nightmare, intrusive thoughts
about my teeth coming out; since this started
and I know that in a list of most common dreams
your teeth falling out would come right under nudity

But hear me out as I pretend again that I am special

Do you remember the jagged edge of your teeth
as they dangled, held in only by nerves and roots?
I do. I remember pushing, prodding, twisting
cutting my tongue open on the edge only to
give up at the last second


But I would do it, constantly, until I fell asleep

and perhaps in the night too, as I woke with
a pillow full of blood, scrabbling to find the tooth

And it isn’t that I want my…

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The Little Things

Toyah fiddled with the bracelet wrapped around her wrist. It was a thin, plastic bracelet formed of interconnecting rings of different neon colours. She smiled, thinking back to the day she had bought it for a daft price in a bar in Malta.

Ginny watched her with her top lip curled upwards in distaste. She adjusted her designer handbag with a hand decorated in shimmering rings.

‘What do you wear that?’ she asked. Toyah looked up from the bracelet as though she had forgotten that anybody else was there.

‘It reminds me of good times,’ she replied.

‘It’s tacky, though. Why don’t you get rid of it? There’s some great silver on the market right now. You could upgrade – a lot.’

Toyah shrugged her shoulders. ‘Wouldn’t be the same,’ she said. ‘It’s the little things that matter, you know?’

Ginny didn’t know at all, and Toyah didn’t need to hear her say it to know it was true. She slipped the sleeve of her jacket down, covering the plastic bracelet so that it was out of sight.

‘Shall we go?’ Toyah said, quick to change the subject where her sense of style – or lack of style – was concerned.

The look on Ginny’s face told Toyah that she wasn’t fooled, but she dropped the subject all the same.