Poetry- Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

The Skater

at the local rink
her skates cut trails
fingernails scratch wooden handrails
she clings on for dear life.
out in the woods
a lake
mute swans skitter on floes
mis-footed and beautiful
iced crust water
surface strength deceptive
hair cracks creep
beneath her weight
icicles dangle
Damocles blades
pierce down from rocks
frozen air
swells her lungs
stretches them
blue-veined balloons
her breath freezes to death


Our afternoon hangs, heavy with heat. You left, we split. Breakages ripple through the creek. A mud road cracks open, a cart loses a wheel, a boat springs a leak. A bang. Another. You’re back. The door shakes. Stupefied, I unlock the door, let you back, toxic, to fester. We snack on leftovers, entrails of suffocated affection.

Afterwards, we lie side by side. Gauze nets float through open window panes, slack on their wires. We rise. Weighted, wet, we part for good. Still hot, frantic with lack of connection.


He stands there, wooden, dark-shadowed by the sun. His large, plated feet jam the door. ’You’re going nowhere,’ he says. His steepled height, corn-sack width, block my escape. I grab his hair. His curls twist tight around my fingers, cut off blood. I withstand the pain, pull hard. He yelps I wriggle free and tear across the yard. The sun hides, obscured by fret and slated clouds.


You’re gone, I stand alone
once more. Stranded on shingle,
ocean’s cusp, in wild weather
keening memories and loss.
Today, I throw crumbs
to gleeful, gorging gulls, drawn
by my hand, opening and letting go.
You offered me scraps,
Leftovers. Ravenous, I’d lusted
to eat full meals at your laden table.


In transit
I walk the length of this day
on shards of glass
and blood blooms
from my ribboned feet
eventide reveals you
by the roadside
my new lover
I sit in your shelter
you bind my soles
and sip from your offered cup –
hibiscus flowers
swirl in agua fresca
a shot of lime juice
turns trumpet petals
from dried-dusk brown
to moist red wet

About the contributor

Ceinwen E. Cariad Haydon lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. She writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and print anthologies. She was Highly Commended in the Blue Nib Chapbook Competition [Spring 2018], won the Hedgehog Press Poetry Competition ‘Songs to Learn and Sing’ [August 2018] and was shortlisted for the Neatly Folded Paper Pamphlet Competition, Hedgehog Press [October 2018]. In 2017 she graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University and she is now developing practice as a creative writing facilitator with hard to reach groups. She believes everyone’s voice counts.

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