An apparition of an aproned man:
the television refuses to mute.
In a dark bar Harry presses his crotch
against a girl he does not yet realise is his sister.
A bottle cracks in a canvas bag, wine
blooms under the armpit of a woman walking home.
Mary is on the sofa. Soft tick
of the heater, the shuffle of papers.
Were those bells or a belt
undone with one hand?
She sniffs –
His silence slips into her
ear like the air after sound.
Was that it? The tiny thud thud
repeat: fly against glass.
Or the yellow lamp-light,
was that how it sunk in?
For a moment Songs of Praise
plays only the descant,
a coin is pushed into a slot, a ring is slipped onto a finger,
the sliver of hot orange sun is nearly gone;
we’ve forgotten how to look for signs,
maybe there were none.
The hairdresser asks if the temperature is ok.
There’s a pill packet with only Monday left.
The landlord could be here any minute
so I’ll eat my fried egg with my back to the room.
Later I will climb into your shirt like an animal again,
burrowing through your scent like the damp place beneath a tree,
tossing the covers back, clutching your sleeves
that are now my sleeves, knotting myself around myself.
Darling, I have thrown away the sun, cut my hair and kept it.
I have fallen in love with all my friends.
Yesterday I touched myself looking at a photo
of my breasts pretending I was you.
Marlon Brando on my wall despises me,
but I won’t take him down.
Each morning I wake with a bruise
like a brush stroke up my thigh
and wonder what I bumped into so slowly.
Interview with God in the Shower
God reaches for the soap. No, I don’t regret it, I don’t believe in regret. Rubs it between his hands. What? Yes, of course. Places back on the dish. I mean, usually I felt in control, but there were times I felt dirty. He steps back, head under the shower, hair flattened, hands over his face ‘I began to hate them, to hate myself. He shakes his head sadly before looking up, and then, well, when there was nothing left, I guess I started to fall in love. God soaps his underarms. I became obsessed. His feet slip slightly, squeaking on the enamel as he turns to rinse off. Jealousy, rage, wrath they really change you, I know that now. He turns off the shower and stands for a moment in the steam. He frowns, What do you mean forgiveness? Who would I get that from? His voice echoes flatly in the tiled room. In the mirror God pretends his face is wet with tears and wipes them away.
Virgin’s Love Song
I present to you
a starched shirt
a polished surface
a sealed window
a taut rope
a rolled carpet
I’m held in
lover – tug at me
me and I’ll
resist – just how
you like it.
God Forgets He is Immortal and Dies
He went to turn the lights out world and the
world remained half-lit. He realised then
that he had always only been watching.
You might imagine him edgeless or else
hold the image of a long grey statue
(one you’d kiss the feet of and think about
before bed). To you he might have many arms
or teeth or women. He might shout the trees
down and tousle the sea like a head of hair.
To me, he’s small, fleshy, forgetful.
I should let his little body decompose, keep
the skull in my pocket: a talisman (if there is
a skull). I should puncture him and use whatever
is inside to paint my face the colour of
everything. I could store him in the attic, I could
bury him with Grandpa, I could even
resurrect him. For now, I keep him pressed,
like an ugly flower in a bible, a mosquito caught
Ella Frears is a poet, writer and visual artist living and working in South East London. She’s had writing published in Brand, Smiths and Lighthouse #6 and recently exhibited with Newlyn Art Gallery. She graduated from Goldsmiths University and was shortlisted for Young Poet Laureate for London in 2014.