there is a shortness of words,
silence sits between the teeth
that dentists said would not need braces.
Don't get dressed all the way
or ask where the other clothes went.
(his housemate gives them back a week later –
                                                                      they don't fit)

"It's not okay to eat garlic bread and chocolate sauce for breakfast."
Solution: lose self in the pop-up pointillism of club lights.
"He likes you" –  it's too soon
"come home with us, it will be safer."
(find out later
                       “"she'll be easy")

Watch eight hours of Come Dine with Me
before deciding to scream.
              “"He doesn't remember anything –
               except washing blood off sheets this morning
               well, he didn't use that four-letter-word...but,
               how else do you explain why you left without..."”
A sleep-walker opened the door
schlik schlik chhh-cuck-ck         ahhuhh
remember everything
thankful not to air that dirty laundry.

Appreciate short words.
Like: I am
and, No.

                      Mine truly,

                                     I am





Harbour bound and gagging for someone else's sounds
or smells or seagulls dancing with shoes off and an abundance
of paddling. Sun spots stain disposable film, it won't be hazy for long
the fleur-de-lis of your silhouette forms behind eyelids with a blink, a nose
scrunched frown. Blinding mist. How do you look so swell in neon –
envy is an effervescent glow stick. Nobody calls them raves anymore:
raving mad, raving into that deep green, treading in the takeaway you should give away,
leave it for the gulls. Walking past your vomit on the way to work –
you'll ruin this ocean by drowning in it.

The first crush begins with a man, boy, fox in tights; foliage and sickening light,
a hungering. Wind back the VHS, watch again: bubbling, knowing that somehow
in the park around the corner there is a suspense that will never be fulfilled.
The place where you realise this is not a girl-body, Barbie parts or pillow fights.
This is a charcuterie shop, bloodhounds and muskets and waiting for the meat
to smoke from flesh to – there is no cutlery, only napkin-folds, swans in mouths,
grabbing at something that is disappearing slipping out of – a grunt.
Now that this is not a body it cannot be ruined.



Katie Smart has a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Sheffield. She is currently reading The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson after inhaling Bluets. Writes and reads explorations and deconstructions of sexuality, gender, mythology, mundanity and whatever else seems intriguing.

Cover image by Tyler Brewington: closeup of mineral deposit in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho.

Darla Mottram