ANOTHER DYING WORD
Kingfisher dived into the blue of her veins. Bubbles of air became trapped in its feathers and the hollows of its bones filled with yellow light. When it surfaced it pulled her from the place where hope was just another dying word.
WHAT THE TREE SAID
Toppled last season – roots praying to the sky and the trunk hollowed by sinful winds – she worms into a crawl space warm with decay. Crickets tumble over her shoulders and reverent spiders veil her face with white webs for a wedding to which she’s had no invitation. She lays still at the altar and listens to the blackness. As her heart slows to ring growth and her breath becomes carbon she hears the tree’s rustled vows but doesn’t know if, wedded, she’ll emerge to burrow into soil or grow wings and finally soar.
OUT-RUNNING THE DOGS
When he traces the line of a scar and asks me what happened I tell him it was a dog attack. It’s not quite a lie, I think, because I have run from a pack of black dogs time and again. The faint white marks on my arms are proof that I out-paced the chorus of midnight howls when they said I was stupid; that I wasn’t good enough; they’d be better off without me. I don’t tell him about the days when they curl up beside me and lick the scars until they’re raw; nibble the scabs with their small, sharp teeth and grow stronger on the iron drained from my body or that while I can push them away – order them to sit, heel, beg – I can’t stop them pawing at the door.
Susan Darlington’s poetry regularly explores the female experience through nature-based symbolism and stories of transformation. It has been published in Nymphs, Dreich, Dream Catcher, Anti-Heroin Chic, Hedgehog Press, and Ethel Zine among others. She has two books available: ‘Traumatropic Heart’ (Selcouth Station, 2021) and ‘Under The Devil’s Moon’ (Penniless Press Publications, 2015). A third book is due to be published in 2022 (’Never Wear White’, Alien Buddha Press, TBC). Follow her at @S_sanDarlington