In the shop window, the bangle shone, its spangled beauty called to me. You saw your chance, you with your deep pockets. On my wrist, the scratches started. Clamped tight, my wrist ballooned within its handcuff. I knew then, I was chained. Strangers stop me in the street on summer days, exclaim at my bracelet’s burnished brightness caught in the sun’s rays. The gleaming gold spikes beguile them, press after-images into their eyes. On the underside, these same spurs break my skin and I bleed. You bought it for me, made me yield. Now you eye another trophy. I am confined to your cupboard.
Cold in my pocket, warm in my hand, it was the key to home. Its lock no longer exists, I can’t let it go. I feel the weight of it, my neck remembers the string it hung on, nestled under my school shirt. All last lesson, my anxious fingers fondled it, my worst fear to be locked out.
Today, its shiny disc reflects my face, winks in the twilight. Its teeth chew my innards as I run my thumb along the ridge. I recall, home was always hell. The key, my only hope, so long ago.
Mighty oaks fall, my father did. I watch driftwood bob on the tide, bump the shoreline, tangle with seaweed. The spelk doesn’t care it’s small-wood now. My father did. It showed on his lined forehead. I bend, my fingers curl around the splintered remnant. I stroke along the grain, weep, this oak will not stand again. Patterned with whorls of years and broken into pieces.
I fear I will move my mouth and speak no words or that my words will come and not be heard. I fear that my words will not carry my thoughts, scramble before they reach your ears. I fear that you’ll cut through before I’ve finished. I fear that you’ll judge before you know the whole. I fear that you hate my truth and that you’ll say I lie. I fear that you’ll lighten the weight of my serious words or be crushed by my humour. I fear we can’t communicate.
My Car, My Home
The baths open at six. I wait on the steps,
organised with towel and soap. Organised, me,
that’s a laugh. Householders bounce ahead,
daybreak swimmers, fit, healthy. Well off
friends from the past, who live my old life.
I pay for a swim, to take a shower.
Steamed-up mirrors reflect
creases tracked onto my tired cheek.
Marks pressed by the seat belt,
a safety device
made for journeys,
stained by sleep’s dribble.