Lindsey Holland



And not in here, no, don’t swim
across the wheat to the kitchen window, don’t block
the sun she cuts; it gives way
to her paring knife each morning. We’ve watched her peel

apples over breakfast, switch
to tea without milk, lose weight and yes,
cough but she’s always lit the same, the condiments
in rows on the tray by the sugar bowl

and the souvenir spoon she bought
when we toured the south coast. You must not come
to hear her gluing words like scar and lung, to throw
such shadows on her skin. There is no right

time for the wrecking ball; you must not come
across the wheat to the kitchen window, must not
swallow a particle, move a thing. We’ll seal the cracks
and pray to stem cells. It’s easier this way.




We used to do this: talk on landlines, jot
addresses like ‘4a, Wood St, use
the bottom left buzzer’.

Places tried to hide. The warehouses
hadn’t been blasted, no one thought
of spending on facades,

and even the stairwells, corridors, shared
facilities coped with a constant snow
of plaster dust. We’d stand

in peeling doorways, gain entry, navigate
the city’s unspaces and find ourselves
in pumping rooms

where bongs and rag rugs, mouldering
teapots, cartons of rancid milk sat
with piles of flyers

in a buzz of cables. I myself
was too much a watcher, stopped short
of jellybean hair dye,

settled for tights and Doctor Martens.
I painted eyes on the ankles while you
chose flames. It seemed

the time to shake ourselves, run
from every mapped footstep toward
crueller, cleaner things.


LINDSEY HOLLAND‘s poetry and reviews have appeared in a wide range of publications including Tears in the Fence, Ink Sweat & Tears, Penning Perfumes, Sabotage Reviews, and Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam. She is the leader and founder member of North West Poets and she holds an MA in Writing from the University of Warwick. Her collection, Particle Soup, is about to be published by The Knives Forks and Spoons Press. She tweets @LindseyHolland.


Read more by Lindsey Holland:

Poem at Ink, Sweat & Tears
Interview at Sabotage