The first hands

The first hands to touch me were a woman’s, a midwife’s. Then my mother’s.

Years later after good and bad and right and wrong the touch I had always needed and waited for finally arrived.

Now the thought of your touch still sparks the stars beneath my skin. The stars still spark.

Helplessness

Helplessness. It’s worse for me you know. You are only suffering but you do that every day. But every day I wake up and with the reddened sky I know that I can never help you. Hopelessness. It’s worse for me. You can imagine a cure or some relief though you know – you know – that that will never come. All I want is for your pain to go away for ever. And you know please know that’s not the same as not wanting you here forever. Look into my eyes, please look into my eyes and please, please don’t show me pity.

Written for wp.lancs.ac.uk/translatingpain, an interdisciplinary critical/creative project bringing together people living with persistent pain, representatives from pain charities, creative writers, academics, and medical practitioners.

Life’s a beach

“Life’s a beach”. It was the third time she had walked past in that t-shirt and this time she was smiling. I twisted, waved and caught my hand in the sunbed. I looked down. Saw blood. Fainted. I woke up lying next to her. She had fainted too.

50-Word Fiction Competition for Scottish Book Trust

I am going to bed

I am going to bed to eat biscuits, drink tea
I am going to bed to read well-translated poetry
I am going to bed to lie with clenched fists
I am going to bed to dream of a kiss

I am going to bed to remember
I am going to bed to forget
I am going to bed to smell the coffee
I am going to bed to gaze at the photo standing next to me

I am going to bed to collect my thoughts
I am going to bed to smell the pines from this morning’s walk
I am going to bed to shape the pillow to my head
I am going to bed to breathe slowly and sweat

I am going to bed to feel cool cotton on my back
I am going to bed to fall fast asleep with my nose in a book
I am going to bed to wonder what trend not to follow
I am going to bed to plan out every tomorrow

I am going to bed to stare at the darkness
I am going to bed to think of the sweetness
I am going to bed to sleep the sleep of the sleepy
I am going to bed to write sleep-drizzled poetry

I am going to bed to cover my head with two pillows, one duvet
I am going to bed to close my eyes and dream very slowly
I am going to bed to plan my next trail run
I am going to bed to fall in love all over again

I am going to bed to see the sky behind blue eyes
I am going to bed to know that you are my lover
I am going to bed to feel we are floating on the waves
I am going to bed to know that it is over