If all else fails
there’s the hollow of my bed
the door edge illuminated like a gospel
a glass sky floating my room in a cul de sac
the sodium of orange stars
What you said doesn’t matter anymore
There’s a tree in my back yard, a hedge.
The birds inside are squeaking;
it’s a sign they’re going to fledge.
You’ll be drinking now the sun’s out,
licking cigarettes with the edge of your tongue.
Burn your coffee in that old tin pan,
hear the chicks, smoke on.
It’s always like this now: I have an apathetic heart, turned in on itself
like the hood of a coat in the playground. A turtle, my son calls it. Yes,
I have a turtle heart, turned in on itself, with a hard shell. It’s peaceful inside
and soft. I love it more than you.
We’ve all set up shop at some point,
dressed a window with curiosities.
I’ve been in business for years
but no one wants a snow globe,
an octopus, or a set of plastic spoons.
This market’s too niche
and I’m sick of taking stock.
It’s time to cut my losses and run.
I’ll hang a sign on the door:
Been ill. Felt sad. Out to lunch.
Sweets for my sweet
All this, and he still wanted the strawberry cream.
I told him he could have the green one,
the caramel, the fucking hazelnut whirl.
But he went on about it, took the piss.
So I hid my last heart in a teacup,
behind the milk at the back of the fridge.
And when I looked he’d eaten it,
nowt left, not one pink squidge.
Catherine Ayres is a teacher who lives in Northumberland. Her poems have appeared in a number of print and online magazines, including Ink, Sweat and Tears and The Moth. She recently came third in both Ambit magazine’s ‘Under the Influence’ competition and the 2015 Hippocrates Prize.
Some of her poems will be published in pamphlet form by Black Light Engine Room later this year.