Porridge

Sticky sweetness bound together

By oats in the morning drizzle

Grey days poured away with the milk

As the sugar clumps in my mouth.

Waking up before daybreak

To only the light from the water tower,

I pull my scratchy tights on,

Stumble downstairs to my breakfast.

I am so tired and eat so slowly

That the porridge hardens and cools,

Feeling heavy in my stomach.

Dawn streaks across the sky while I rush,

Late again, to my classes.

I cannot say I  miss those primary school days.

 

 

 

 

 

Hindsight

There was never a moment when I thought

You would hurt me

Which makes me feel like my brain was missing

When I look back

The same flashes in my mind spinning like a zoetrope

I forgot to think

I forgot how to think

Because my mind was full of you

And how you made me feel

Nearly every waking moment

Nobody knows what is inside the minds of others

No matter how close we feel to them

We don’t know what’s inside ourselves

And you didn’t believe we should be together

You told me that

I didn’t listen because that wasn’t what I wanted to hear

I made myself blind, deaf to reality

And constructed a cocoon in which I wrapped myself

Unwilling to face the world without you

Because at times you made me feel

Like I deserved to be happy.

Thrills

I like to scare myself

So I go to zoo reptile houses and put my face close to the glass tanks

I can hardly breathe as I gaze inside

Not knowing where the snakes are hiding,

Although I suspect they are coiled around branches or pooled into spirals.

Then I spy them, one by one: a tail dangles from the foliage,

A head pokes out of a hollow log

And it is a relief to know where the snakes are and that they cannot touch me.

I like to scare myself

So I swim out into the ocean as far as I can

Until I can barely see the shoreline and I cannot feel my wrinkled toes.

Sometimes the water is cold and murky,

Sometimes it reflects the sky

As I return to the beach slowly, tired by my exertions.

Feeling weak and heavy, before I reach halfway back

I begin to fear I will sink and drown

And it is a great relief when I stagger onto solid ground, pressing smooth pebbles down with my feet.

I like to scare myself

So I lie on the floor at night next to my bed and think of my small regrets:

The times I have not told my friends how I really felt,

When I refused to continue my piano lessons any longer,

Scowling in every photo from the ages of eight to eleven,

And staying indoors too often.

It is harder to find relief, but I tell myself until I drift into sleep

That I will not repeat those mistakes;

For there are new ones to be made.

Static

Our smiles stretch under the curved glass frame

Fuelled by the sudden gust of wind that flipped our umbrellas inside out.

As we laughed together the rain caught our uncovered faces

In a moment of surprise and joy, shot by a weather reporter

And framed by my parents the following month.

In that photo we stride unflinchingly towards the present,

Hands gripping our umbrellas tightly and eyes blinded by rain.

We stride as equals, in step with one another along the road.

I am sorry that we could not remain equal as we do there,

Propped up on a bookcase by my hanging mirror.

I am sorry that life took away so much from you,

That I could not be there to laugh with you when the rain really began to come down.