I never thought you existed. You were a fight
in another room, a moon landing, someone
But now you’re here. Recumbent flotsam
gone sour on our sofa.
And now, it’s like you’ve been here
the whole time, crouching behind
lonely larder tins, nesting in the
plaster cracks. You make us into you
not quite flesh.
I’d offer you a drink,
coffee I suppose,
but the cups are full with
You were in our bed this morning,
muddying the womb of the place,
heavy as a sleeping child.
You’re in the strangest places.
I know you’ve watched me in the shower, squeaked
love hearts on the frosted glass, grabbed ringside seats
at our love making, left
popcorn kernels for naked feet to tramp,
each its own
I’ve caught you in mirrors, whispering
imagined infidelities in her ear,
retuning guitars an octave low, breaking all the
Uninvited, you leaf through
books, records, trip trap fingers delicately
for still-faced ornaments, pronounce our poverty,
pick your teeth with cutlery as she cries
on vinyl floors.
Sometimes, I want to
kill you. Pitch you on your back,
a thumb each side of
your pitted windpipe, squeeze
the life and pulse until you
like a skin balloon.
But what’s the point?
Besides the dust, you’ve dislodged
we hoped buried.
We keep the kids out now. And other guests as you are
a shy intruder. You hide in petticoats
so they’d never know.
You’re a secret bruise, a
cuff pulled down on
red raw wrists, weak
eternal canker, the moment just before
We know you will never leave.
What discord then,
that we endure your tremendous
file your teeth
and castrate you
if we were to
take the shards of us and
carve and mould
some other selves,
would you remember us
and come again?
With a foot firmly each side of the Irish Sea, Alex Smith was raised in troubled Northern Ireland during the Eighties. Educated in English and Spanish, his work has taken him to some of the most socially deprived schools in England. His stark poetry has been published in Twyckenham Notes, Tammy, Clear Water Poetry, Bonnie’s Crew, Abstract: Contemporary Expressions, Ink & Voices, and Coffin Bell. He edits at ABC Tales and has a collection entitled Home coming soon through Cerasus Poetry.