When I followed into the deep tunnel,

into darkness, there was always impressions.

A lingering at subways, where hesitant

tiny footsteps tripped and echoed 

in the flickering, dripping graffito.


Soon, I owned the new bruising and quietly shone:

shyly sore, and as livid and as rude as when

SHARON LUVS KEVIN was daubed on our walls.

Kevin only saw red: ARSENAL red,

while Sharon just blew empty kisses.


Nothing ever joined up in our family:

ever spelt out what all the broken cups

and stained tissues meant. Small pleads and little bleeds

were pushed into whispered corners 

already crowded with furtive toys and broken joys.


No one ever heard my ghost of an ‘Oh’,

as I scrawled BECOS in vexed textbooks,

full of crossings out and misconceptions.

No one ever twigged what it was to be

read on a wall, never sought a cause.


In the walled wasteland out back, angry hands

would slap black blotches on thin, trembling arms,

as I ducked down beneath snapped-blown branches.

I sat crumpled and quaking, hoping, waiting,

amongst the quieter stresses and party dresses

laid out in rows for me to try on.


No one else ever came, so we played peephole

and I danced like a pretty puppet.



Miss Spelt

as shame:



My lip was split and sap bled,

and I headed out into knowing fields

and planted

- like an apple tree knows how to root

                                      and burst into bloom.


Root, where earth

just is

and belong

- just belong.


I recognized the colour: purple.

I took a razor blade

and carved a sharp heart on my bark.

It contained BECAUSE.


Only because.


I lay on the dizzying, wet earth and leaked

and knew I was watering.


Now, later, when dry,

each spring, amongst the lambs,

I go back and watch.

Watch the puddles spread,

grass fleshed and flushed:

sacrifice anew.


To be,

‘cos the cause split away

to belong.

ryad: A Living Requiem