Testing Time

(runner up in Hysteria Women’s Writing Competition 2014)

A plastic stick lies in the bin, discarded by the dozen.

Sobriety will be a pleasure when you are ready to request it.

But for now I’m allowed a daily numbness,

while I’m mourning every lack of sickness.

Three laps of a clock, then I can search

for a life


memorised instructions checked one last time.

Self-enforced showers wash away the minutes,

rubbing steamy glass to make view-holes.

I stare through, longing for a sense of blue,

then slow-motion towelling

as monthly windows are closed behind frosted glass.


Holding the cord in the bathroom,

I stare at the mirror to look at how I feel,

before returning to the tea, returning,

just me.



Smelling the age you loved the most
With half of each other in your hands,
The ink is pushed along by empty fingers
Across a path to you and your eyes.
The grass is waiting with nothing in between
As you choose between left and right.
There is the phrase from a million mouths
Making myriad hopes.
I want to light up your face
But I would be smudging what has started to form.


An alley of faces,
Hair that I cannot see past,
Hands going pale,
Hips on hips,
Sparks flying as teeth get chipped.
The feeling of bricks breaking nails
Will wriggle inside me until I starve it.
Blood tickles the back of my throat
As I arch my spine and reach out for a friend,
And the scratching on my shoulder
Doesn’t make a mark
As I stare at myself in the shower.