Mundane Things That Immediately Make Me Think of a Specific Dead Person

washing my hair over the edge of the bath • orange squash • doing the crossword • unscrewing / emptying / refilling a hot water bottle • stripping the bed & putting on fresh covers • rope • inspecting my scalp for grey hairs • snow • poaching eggs • denim shirts • the price of bread • bluebells • badly parked cars • the shortest day of the year • aching knees • Sultans of Swing • exclaiming “Christ!” • using my Nectar card • leaving the dishes to soak overnight • Magaluf • the longest day of the year • aching knees • improvised bookmarks • peeling potatoes • Batman • samurai swords • muttering “Christ” under my breath • the BBC lunchtime news • paper shredders

Your Name in Flames 

I blow you out / extinguished flame / you always smell / the same
as a candle that / has just / been snuffed / as that tiny trail of most / delicious smoke / that dances from the blackened wick / the one that I / can never catch as it disappears too quick. I am the spent / match, used and then discarded / I crumble
at your touch and your patience / with me / vanishes / as it so often does.
You are the charred remains with which / I paint / a smile onto my skin / for my sins / for yours: we share a love we both abhor / and practice makes these wanton sparks
so easy to ignore. But when I am gone you will taste my pretty ashes on your
tired tongue / and curse yourself for failing to start fires when you had the chance /
and so the smoke / will never dance / again.

HLR (she/her) writes poetry and short prose about living with chronic mental illness, trauma, and grief. Her work has been published by or is forthcoming with Misery Tourism, SCAB Magazine, Sledgehammer Lit, and Emerge Literary Journal. She is the author of prosetry collection History of Present Complaint (Close to the Bone) and micro-chap Portrait of the Poet as a Hot Mess (Ghost City Press). HLR lives in north London where she was born and raised. Twitter: @HLRwriter /

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