Tessa Berring

Embrace Me

 

Skin is wipe clean

and my jeans fit well

 

and once I wrote

 

about my dream

with men in it

 

all cotton wool heads!

 

I chopped them off

of course

 

which was bloody

like tampons

 

and my hands stank

of dead petunia.

 

It was a good story

nuanced and delicate

 

someone said

 

though they might not

have meant it.

 

It's a relief about skin

being easy to wipe

 

and it's good having jeans

all over my legs.

 

I like lean words

you know, like 'spirit'

 

and lightly placed

unspeakable things.

 

 

Close

 

 

When I wake I sometimes

catch a scent of myself

 

sweat and hard butter

 

and I sometimes

buy liquorice cigarette papers

 

for some personal nostalgia.

Where are those pale red shoes?

 

A dream can be smeared

with indelible stains

 

and rage can be soft

as a smoke screen.

 

Don't breathe!

 

The bedroom door is open,

carpet like brown meringue

 

dry cinnamon, old moth

 

I'll pretend I'm not here

 

am I close? Is this right?

 

 

 

Chairs

 

The box has five pairs

of scissors in it.

 

I must not lose them

 

on a journey

I don't believe in.

 

There is a yellow

rainbow

 

that can never

be a chimney

 

and an ordinary boy

is missing

 

(not a ghost

he is a little bit pirate).

 

This room is so soft

I could cut it

 

down the middle

 

five or seven times

 

Chairs can be

such solemn objects

 

(am I crying?)

 

Someone once said

 

'be jollier

be like a warm lap'

 

I'll never forget that.

 

 

 

Crow

 

Today is a horrible day

and now your arms

 

are covered

in vinegar, of all things.

 

Remember how I used

to wear your clothes

 

because I liked stripes

 

and wanted

to be you sometimes

 

or at least not me

for a sunny afternoon

 

in the fields?

 

I still love

the shriek of crows

 

occasional helicopters

grass and skylarks.

 

Fields simmer with violence

you'd say

 

and I'd not believe you

but be terrified.

 

I'll go back sometime

and the sky might

 

be black, or it might

be blue, or I might not notice.

 

 

Love

 

Marzipan!

She used to say indoor

snails taste of marzipan

and her nipples taste

of marzipan, and her tongue

and the small of her back.

She used to say this

because she longed

to be an almond

a huge hollow almond

full of upright Madonnas

all praying for love

and unimaginable purity.

Tessa Berring is an artist and writer based in Edinburgh. Her work appears in a variety of magazines including Zarf, (in collaboration with Kathrine Sowerby) The Rialto and Rabbit Catastrophe Review. A pamphlet, 'Cut Glass and No Flowers' was published in 2017 by Dancing Girl Press. She is also 1/12 of 12, an online writing collective of women poets living in Scotland.

© 2018 Colin Herd and all the individual poets

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