depression

Lycanthropic (Poem)

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super-wolfy-moon

At twelve
she starts growing fur and fangs,
watches hair poke through skin
like new-grown grass;
lets her spine bend to breaking point
and hides herself under baggy jumpers.

At fourteen
she keeps jagged glass and sewing pins
in the back of her underwear drawer
and waits until she’s alone to shed her skin.
While nerve endings scream their protests,
it still feels like coming home.

At sixteen
she prides herself on hunger pangs,
rakes new-grown claws over a stomach
that’s always empty or overflowing,
teaches herself to love the taste of bile
behind her teeth.

At seventeen
she learns how to bite,
how to draw blood;
how to silence a scream.
She sees the world in shades of crimson
and counts her scars at the end of the day.

At nineteen
she forgets what it’s like to walk on two legs.
She carves out a home
in the small hours of morning,
licks her wounds behind back-garden fences
and digs claws into dewy earth.

At twenty-one
she learns to love the animal under her skin.
She steps over the threshold,
lets tendons stretch, lungs expand,
and howls at street lamps
when she can’t see the moon.

[The original title of this poem was “I Was A Mentally Ill Teenage Werewolf But I’m All Right Noooooooooooooow”. Figured that wasn’t quite the vibe I was going for, though.]

Day Forty-Nine – “Ash” (In For A Penny / Dreamers)

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There was a time when you would visit him every night, with rusted metal claws and skin grey like cigarette ash; he used to try and run, only to feel you still breathing smoke thick as tar down the back of his neck with every step. He drew you in the margins of his school books, a stick-thin biro scribble with sharp teeth and wide, empty eyes, until the headmaster sent him to a Very Nice Lady who gave him a sheet of white pills to pop like bubble wrap. You still visit him, but he doesn’t run any more.

For more information on “In For A Penny”, or for further entries, click here. For a summary of the “Dreamers” mini-collection, click here.

Day Thirty-Six – “Mirror” (In For A Penny)

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If I could stop her, I would.

I’ve seen the way her hands shake, fumbling with the cupboard door. It always takes longer than it should to find the right bottle, and she never gets the lid open on the first try. She’ll twist it this way and that, whack it against the sink, let every swear word she knows tumble past her lips before tipping out

one,

two,

three,

sometimes four little white circles into her palm. She’ll look at me, dead-on, as she swallows each one back.

If I could stop her, I would— but I can only watch.

For more information on “In For A Penny”, or for further entries, click here.

Day Twenty-Six – “Tide” (In For A Penny)

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People always seemed to talk about “drowning your sorrows” like it was a bad thing. A coward’s way out. But, Liam thought to himself, those were the people who had never truly had sorrows to drown.

They didn’t know – how could they? – how welcoming the water could be at that first touch of toes to the surface; how liberating it was to feel the life slowly eroded from the surface of your skin by the current and watch it dissolve in the vast blue mass.

He closed his eyes as he sat back and let the tide carry him out.

For more information on “In For A Penny”, or for further entries, click here.