You grow wings in the dark
lurk in the spaces between my eyelids
and the thick summer heat, the most
undead ghost I can conjure
and somehow you still walk away
five steps ahead, retreating like a tide.
In the morning, I roll back my blinds
hear the clatter of wooden bones, a spine
unfurling like a flower. The sun is
relentless. I can only think in fractures:
violent skies cracking apart, a sea splitting
between us. You, blinking awake in a bed
that was once mine, the imprints I left
getting fainter each day. I’m certain that
if you look, you’ll find tiny shards of
porcelain in the kitchen corners from the
plates I dropped. I remember how they
exploded like suns, how they sounded
as momentum ripped them apart.
I have not forgotten
The forest held my secrets better than I could.
Each week I came and tried to solve the
labyrinth of trees like a crossword, followed a trail of
breadcrumbs back to myself until I grew
hungry and desperate.
I saw a water snake in the river once, lime green
and Poseidon blue. I wanted to reach in and grab its throat,
milk out the venom in its fangs and see if I, too, could
be a source of fear. But the currents swept him away and
left me stranded with those stoic willows, half mad,
their roots a tangled drama of love and jealousy.
I envied those silent witnesses, keepers of confessions.
For centuries they have cycled through their green/gold
armour and observed fragile lives splitting,
coming together, burning quick like firewood.
Now, whenever I return, I feel those histories pulsing
through their rough bark, hot like blood. I feel my own grief,
slow and stale after so many years, echoing back at me
like an ocean trapped inside a seashell.
Annmarie McQueen is a London-based writer, marketer and candle-maker with a BA degree in creative writing from Warwick University. She’s been published in numerous magazines and anthologies including Dear Damsels, Buried Letter Press and The Little Book of Fairytales released by Dancing Bear Books. You can find her full portfolio on her creative writing blog www.loreandink.com
photo by Tengyart, Diego PH and Tom Barrett (via unsplash)