New Poem : Summertime (Rough First Draft)



It’s a proper summer this year,

we keep all the doors wide open.


The TV complains in static

and sweats in the corner.


The plants give up all hope.


The fire is stuffed with old rubbish,

milk cartoons, egg shells, chicken bones.

The smell has a bad attitude.


The freezer is all choc ices.


We eat one every hour.

Everyone except my sister.


Instead, she descends

into the biggest chaos.


I watch her thump her belly,

stab her thighs with pens.


I watch her smile break.


I watch her push away plate

after plate after plate.



My sister makes morbid sounds

in the bathroom after dinner.


There has been no boyfriend

in months, but she has worn

the tires on our bike smooth.


Her neck is longer than I remember,

and her knees crack when she gets up

in the night to piss and pace the landing.


She becomes confident in upsetting me,

in upsetting my mother, in upsetting

everything she touches, even the dog.


He still tries to love her. Of course he still

tries to love her.


She gets up so early its frightening,

and in her dreams she cries that she just

wants to be small, because then everything

will be ok.


And she doesn’t want to grow up at all,

because she doesn’t want to die.



My sister’s hands are absurdly large.


She is addicted to distancing herself,

and walks as though in a ghostly filter.


I haven’t smelt iron in the bathroom

since summer. There has been nothing

in the bin but cotton buds and food

wrapped in toilet roll.


She only talks a few words a day,

mostly no.


Whatever is in her heart is confidential


We talk in a circle with a stranger.

My sister never looks up,

nothing is ever resolved.


The stranger talks about

the dark wreckage of this family.


And winter moans on,

and the cold keeps coming.


And my sister disappears a little more

each day.



My sisters hands are broken claws.

all colour has been evacuated from her face.


She is below feather light, and smells like sulphur,

like hell. No flowers can disguise the crossfire

of her odour when she moves through the house.


I can see the cluster of her spinal

column through whatever she is wearing,

the needle of her neck.


Her mouth is a tight hole,

surrounded by fragments of sores.


Words are rare. Eating is rarer.



The freezer holds no choc ices this year.


She’s delicate as spun sugar, stinking

like she’s already been rotting for weeks.


Then one day, the sun takes her down

and I find her, naked and child small,

terror like a deep scar across her face.



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