I hear
it, and peer
over my beer.

I know she does too
as her fingers through
mine unlace,
her face
hard now.

I think of the vow
I made to her that night
eyes shining star-bright
to keep her safe, always
and I think of the ways
I have failed to do so.

and I know
I will try again
but when
holding hand is dangerous
can endanger us
which is just absurd
I can’t keep my word.



it’s funny how
just when you’re sure life’s finished now
the fog clears
and hope appears.

a tiny pinprick of light
in the deep dark of night
is enough to renew
the fight in you.

you’ve been here before
thought you’d closed the door
on existence.

but away in the distance,
it opens again,
and then
you’re back,
treading that well-worn track,
because people care
they’re there
for you

it’s true
and its worth reminding
yourself, while life is grinding
you down
they won’t let you drown
but meet you where you’re at
and you’re thankful for that.

the bairn

the bairn birls
in the air
hersel’ doon the stair
heid first
wee chist fit tae burst.
she’s a wriggly worm on the rug,
confusing the hell oot the dug.
then, all of a sudden she stands,
claps her manky wee hands,
turns on the telly,
then runs fir her wellies.
oot the front door
in the jammies she wore
last night.
she’s as high as a kite,
skiddling in the dirt,
wiping hands on her shirt.
“I’m a wee beastie!” she cries
and yer heart fair flies.


suddenly, I see your face
and that’s a dangerous place
to be
for me.

it’s been years
since the tears
dripped from my chin.

I let you in,
and in doing that
I went into combat
with my mind
against the protection it had designed.

it took years to build
the wall, but I drilled
for you.

my heart, opening like a flower,
gave you the power,
trusting you to care
that you’d always be there.

but that’s not how it went
and I don’t resent you,
and I don’t love you,
but seeing you,
still hurts my chest
you were my best
except at the end.


I’m scared,
and I know that you care,
but at the end of the day,
no matter what you do or say
it’s me who fights
through the nights
spends days
waiting for it all to go away.

it won’t leave me alone
I feel it in my bones
hands on my neck
and I’m a wreck.

always on guard
by the horror of it all
and it would be easy to fall
for the lies my brain tells
to dwell
on the past
on the vast
difference between real life
and mine.


lost in a memory, you cower,
sometimes for hours
on end
and it seems never-end
-ing. riding the waves
of flashbacks that pave
the way to that part of your mind
that they’re trying to find
but you’re hoping to lose.

it’s old news
trying desperately to make
itself ‘current’, and though you fake
your way through life
it cuts like a knife
would, and did, in the past,
so the pretence cannot last.

the smile slips from your face
as you go back to that place
that time
that crime
and relive the silence,
the violence.

it’s so easy to give up
your cup
overflowing now
it’s hard to see how
things will get
better, and yet
you’re still here
fighting that need to disappear.


human beings appear to have gotten
an obsession with not being forgotten.
there is a need
for remembrance of your deeds,
of your name,
for fame.

I just don’t get
the need to be known by those you’ve never met.
an unremarkable life
spent as ‘just’ a wife,
mother, daughter, friend
of days spent tend
-ing your flowers
sometimes for hours
enjoying the simple things
and the joy they bring
of minimising pain,
would seem a better aim.

when we reach for the stars
too often, the marks we leave are scars.
so perhaps treading lightly
is better than grasping on so tightly.
better to bow out with grace
and disappear without trace.


it starts as a small bubble
the trouble
is that it grows
everything in its wake
then suddenly, you’re awake
at 4am, eyes wide
with nowhere to hide.

my thoughts are a train
and the facade I maintain
is slipping fast
as the world slides past.

I am a passenger caught
in one spot
waiting for the destination
the final station
on the line.

people tell me I’m fine
and I agree
because I’d like to be.

but I’m not
it’s just that experience has taught
that nothing can be done.
I am undone,
and the tracks will end
it’s just a matter of when.


an aerial ballet dancer.
never stopping,
never still.
leaping, darting
here to there,
there to here.

it does not simply fly
as the name may suggest,
but shimmers from one place,
glimmers to the next,

wings beat almost imperceptibly
as, lighter than air,
this wee, iridescent beastie
moves through life
heedlessly delighting onlookers.

it thinks nothing of
humble beginnings,
of those longs days spent waiting
for this short moment of light,
because today
the sun is shining,
the sky’s the limit,
and life is good.