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Lucy Harbron

for myself



I cried until it froze over

A love shortening with the days,

and the tears formed to points;

I held your hand when the leaves fell.

foretelling and jagged

black and brown in your mind,

protecting and protesting

still green in my kiss, and eyes.

hurting and hurting.

It fell like that to the weight of the pressure.

Spring I learnt how to hibernate after they laid me down that way. A flower over my heart, a leaf over my eyes. Waiting and waiting, till eighteen.

Summer I woke to find a world destroyed, flooded out, started again. I walked the ground, it’s soft, strong majesty coronated and crowned into a new regime.

It fell like that to the pull of the winter.

Wolf I emerged grey and screaming. Howling my wolf’s howl; calling to a mother that didn’t understand and a father that looked on with drooped eyes, blinking hard, as if to wake up and try it all again. I lay in their arms but itched irritated, their soft unbroken skin catching under my crowning claws. I guess he saw them first. Only holding me briefly, never to let me pierce; never to let me mark him, for that might make it real, I harm therefore I am. I learnt to walk on my hind legs as told, clipped my nails, hid my fur. They adapted as all did and held me when I was hurt, hunted me when I hurt them. I saw myself, gradually, in the mirror; saw the forest fires in my eyes, the habitual predator looking back from me, the eyes of my father blazing from my face, a sheep’s face with wolf eyes.

I growled as I heard him growl at midnight, every third Tuesday when I would not sleep. I ate as he ate, when one fell behind. I grew teeth as he’d bite. I took his coat; wrapped in it, swaddled like a baby merging with the instincts of their parents. I evolved as he did, for if you wear a coat so long it becomes yours. Alone in a pack, I transform as he challenged me to, white wool to grey fur in the full moon of a living room lamp.

The Past Us The past us would’ve clawed at sheets and clung to skin. not content until the scent was merged and all was bare. Now the bed is not cold but burns as we pull away irritated by touch and held hands only tug and nip; so we turn away. The past us, we would’ve talked this through. Crossed-legged on your bed at 2:15pm on a Sunday. But now ‘your goddamn leg hair is just so fucking itchy and why do you look at me like that, I’m getting a drink.’ The past us, they would kiss despite the clumsiness and laugh through, embrace through, love through; try to keep on. But slopes slip down and so do mouths, do I miss you now we’re gone?

Flesh Without Chainmail I surrendered to it, and laid down my arms after you persisted that it doesn’t hurt if you know it’s coming, if you welcome it.

But where was the noise to welcome the blow, when you shot four short words into me; ‘I don’t want this’. I don’t want you to make me strip down to flesh without chainmail only to fire it, and pull out the arrow, watch me bleed out on the soft cotton of the bed I loved.

Germination I was laid down onto the ground and I stared at the blue for so long, it blurred; just a grey expanse of lost signal. The wind faded to only a dropped eyelash on a cheek, and had it even rained, I wouldn’t have known. My limbs were the roots of a tree I couldn’t see, but felt pushing me down, down though they said I kept walking.

I sank where they put me, and I forgot what it meant to be real, to be spirited. I affirmed it: I will be still till spring. I will be still till spring. And I allowed myself the wait.

All Week Sundays My eyes open like the raising of a silk curtain, onto a view of blue and white and sky and air. It's cold enough to wake you, grey enough so everything else only glows more. The wind whistling, whispering in the soft tone of my mother, the reflection, from the window to my face, is the look of a lover: visible and felt.

I roll over and over through the Mondays and the Tuesdays, I hold hands with my time, learning the sound of it's footsteps. Over and over and over, learning to feel everything as I feel a blanket, an arm, a hand, a warm cup. Learning to feel everything as I feel on Sunday.

5/2/17 It will take a while to stop looking for the man in the greys and blues and seeing the sunlight in a way he would’ve liked. The world tailored to him, for him. It will take a while to unstitch.

From: L i l i t h Has life always looked like this? Just disguised by the exposure and bluer hues? Is the dark the boldest spotlight we could’ve wished for?

Shine it on her and you’ll see the social injustice. Shine it on them and you’ll see what they really think of you. Shine it on me, make me reminisce, make me live as if it will always be this way. Just dark enough, just faded out enough.

The clearest view is always hidden. Cloaked in a grey acceptance, a devil handshake promising safety, promising a lack of consequence.

And the sinners crawl out. The sinners, the lost, the lovers, the confident, the scared; the people you know. We all still exist at night, not transformed, just amplified under seemingly fluorescent streetlights and ‘is that a star or a plane?’ It’s hard to tell, but either way they glow…’

You Deserve More Light You are a rose And I know the imagery is cliché. But you are strong, as though you were perfectly crafted and moulded, Though you have been folded and dented by everything that’s ever touched you, everyone that’s ever wanted you but not needed you enough.

And you may see it as a flaw, but you glow pure in the world, and darling, we all need to grow and let those around us grow too.

So maybe the garden is just too crowded for your liking and you know I’d happily run away with you.

Venus If we are all born from stardust, then heartbreak is a black hole. Spiralling until the Milky Way is just a street you used to walk down, hand in hand, and Orion’s belt dims down to freckles on an arm you no longer see.

For on the day the atmosphere collapsed, it was as if I ceased to be Venus, and instead became floating rubble, (a worry of destruction, but mostly aimless) waiting and waiting for the sun to hit me again, waiting and waiting.

A lack of gravity as I drift above myself, images from a sci-fi, draining power levels heading to a crash; But god knows life is not cinema and tough love makes the world go round.

So the heroine presses eject and plummets, but the planets turn, and soon light, colour, motion, returns.

Venus never ceased to be if she is self-aware. And so if we are all born from stardust, it’s what we will always be.

From: T o t h e m a n t h a t t a u g h t m e how to fall out of love …And I ran from arm to arm, prison to prison, until that felt okay.

I’m sorry I couldn’t stay the way I was and the way you wished I could be. I’m sorry that I healed and healed then ripped it all open just to cut deeper. I’m sorry that I had to leave. And I’m sorry you had to see me come back with eyes less glistening in your presence. I’m sorry for falling out of love. I’m sorry, in my history of being the window, not the brick; you were the man that taught me how to do that…’

Judges 11 I found myself among olive branches. They were plentiful and rich, but as I reached out my limbs only burnt. The green dulled to black in the presence of my trying hand and dropped until I was no longer in shade.

I stayed in the desert, and prayed that the pressure may burn away my fuel and evaporate the store, but my clenched hands and bent knees only reddened, and as they began to melt me to the spot a snake told me to run, so I did.

My eyes remained raised for the hope of meeting His gaze, yet they grew weary as I looked up to see only a back turned. They rolled back into my head but the sight of Him was there too. so I stared at a point in the sand that looked like a footprint different to my own.

I shut my mouth for thirty days to quiet the whispers and stop the response. I shut my eyes for longer, as suggested, because if you can’t see the damage you wont lose the drive .

My skin burnt; still hot from the flames long smouldered, and everyone's been evacuated just in case. The back of His head glowed vivid within as I faded out, turning to ashes, while he shook His head at the urn.

#1 ~ Vesuvius It all burned down the very moment you touched me.

I will be Vesuvius, and yours remains the finger on the button as we plummet ourselves into an act of destruction so beautiful and terrifying it is almost forgiven. Always forgiven.

We allow the ash to bury the stillness of our lives, even if just for a moment, and I let you burn. I let you hurt because there are no fireworks without something to set alight, and ill sacrifice myself to the show.

I’ll be so bright, I’ll burn your eyes; but you won’t turn away.

#2 ~ Pompeii Don’t hold my hand.

If you did you would freeze, or flee to seek heat elsewhere, but I have been drained.

I am a candle; all gone. An incense stick once burning, faintly lingering. I am a cold breeze that caresses your ears, whispering ‘I’m trying, I’m trying’, but still pushing you away

A Sunset Over The Tree The hands on my body said; this is it now. They melted into my every line and dimple and turned me grey, broken green, the colour of leaves fallen and decaying, left now. I had no choice; you can’t get back into the garden, can’t apologise now you’re forbidden. You can’t re-attach; too far down and the seasons had changed though I couldn’t tell by the shade of the gravel. The voices leaked out through the cracks, the screaming whisper of their hatred echoed over every surface, I shivered. I screamed, I cried, I surrendered to the changing colours again and again until it revolved about around to yellow light, bearing green. Whispering, whispering warm words over the top as the lines fade into the new sea;

‘we’re going to be laughing about this It’s going to be so good now.’

I don’t need the garden to grow.

Illustrations by Natalie Friesem CopyrightŠ 2017 Lucy Harbron

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