The Iron in the Stars

It takes time to adjust. Adjust, they call it. As if their own tongues did not attempt to slash me open and leave me bleeding on an empty street. A sweet smile before I go out the door and I’m still standing outside the office when I hear their voices, “Did you see her? She…

Eulogy for a friend

A week ago, I took the two potted plants I had in my room to the hill overlooking the bay. I climbed as high up as my weary legs would take me and with my bare hands, dug four holes. Silently, almost reverently, I transplanted the plants and wished with all my heart that they…

Study in love, hurt and anger

It is hard to choose love sometimes. There are moments- like when you’re having dinner alone with your young sister in an Italian restaurant in Prague while your mum is in a hospital room- when choosing love is easy. Saying, ‘I’m here for you’ and ‘you are not alone’ and ‘finish your soup, love’; that’s…

It takes Apollo

When Achilles pulled his troops back, Patroclus, in an act of both defiance and love, went in his place, wearing his golden armor, and fought. He slaughtered many and it took Apollo, a god, to stop him. When Hector, seeing him without his armor, approached him, Patroclus, a mortal (not a hero, not like Achilles, not the…

Interludes

i. 12.45 pm. Words are heavy. They cling to you with the weight of promises and half-enchanted tomorrows that will manifest themselves in the crevasses of someone’s indifference. ii. 1.32 pm. I have written you more than three thousand pages. I have written you a book and two hundred letters. I have piled words and…

Like my mother

Dear God, I think once the lecture is over and I’m the only one standing in the courtyard of the physics building, I do not ask you to lighten my burden, just to give me a stronger back. I start walking up the small hill towards the library. You made me wild, like my mother. You made me…

Like the stars

I love you like the stars, I whisper in the darkness. I am alone and the clock on the bedside table helpfully tells me that it’s just a quarter past 3. Not in the scientific sense, not like giant balls of plasma that go round and round forever out of my reach. I breathe in and let…

Thoughts on poetry

Some poems are prose in disguise. (Forget Marvell, forget Marlowe, you can always stay up past the hour of solitude and write again.) And some nightmares are covered in blessings, much like the way monsters tend to come out at night (as they do, as they do). If you want to change the world you need…

His wish

I woke up with a swallowed scream and adrenaline forcing its way through my veins. Shakily, I reached for the bedside table and glanced at the alarm clock, it was 3 am. I let out a breath full of pain and the taste of old fear was bitter on my tongue; I pulled the covers…

To build a dream on

“Well,” my friend John said after watching me staring at the same page of my book for 10 minutes straight, “what happens now?” What happens now? “I don’t know,” I answered, slowly closing the book and placing it back on the bookshelf. “Let me quote Ijeoama Umebinyuo,” he whispered, I could feel his chest pressing…

Whisper

It’s getting warmer, the winter cold slowly ebbs away and allows us to plant the seed of spring in our thoughts. (Sometimes when the wind is cold and I can see my breath coming out in white puffs, I go out to stand in front of the ocean and whisper forgiveness.) My fingertips are cold…

Taking blow by blow

I look out the window and look at the Welsh hills, the car hits a small bump and I let out a smile. The Sun is setting and music is playing in the background. You can’t keep blaming yourself for what happened, love. My friend says and I glance at him from the corner of my eye. I…