For The Record

by | March 18, 2022

you have grown too big.

too full of images like water in fist, like sand between fingers,

unreliable as ink on page.


for the record, there will only ever again be vague flashes, just


the cucumber slipping out the end of your sandwich

pieces of gravel in your knees


the sea on a stormy day

the first time you realised you’d grown hips.

the crease behind his ear

that his dad has, too.

streaks of blue nail polish and cat fur on your jumpers

and uneven stitching.

the smell of bubble mixture,

and the time your dad hit a hedgehog with the car

(sick, dead, thump)

the fish section of a foreign supermarket

and the shiniest coin in your collection

and the puppet in your grandma’s drawer that you were scared to

look at except maybe

sneak glances

out of the corner of your eye.


the beginnings of strep throat

and that same medicine you still taste from time to time

when you wake in the middle of the night

and don’t know where you are.

jelly shoes.

crushing mint leaves between your fingers

in the garden.

the texture of the fur of your favourite bear.

new trainers.

or better, light-up trainers. or worse, no light-up trainers.

or worse still, losing your light-up trainers in the trampoline park, and having to limp

across the parking lot in shameful socked feet.


all the bedrooms you’ve ever slept in.

the things you thought you’d lost         and cried when you found again.

all the things you’ve lost.

all the things you don’t yet know are lost.

all the hairclips and the ribbons from birthday presents

not to mention the birthday cards.

all the water you’ve swallowed in pools and oceans

and water parks

and the things you’ve left behind in return

(jelly shoes still floating somewhere on the italian coast)


all the days you’ve counted down on the back of your bedroom door

and the days kept going

and never lost count.

even when people stopped counting the candles

on your birthday cake.

even when you started counting digits on scales,

and debts,

and keeping score,

but not, this time, in swing tennis.


even when you learned about beautiful and ugly

and wondered if you were either.


even if you don’t, anymore,

hold hands to cross the road. ∎


Words by Anna Studsgarth. Art by Rachel Jung.