by Millie Crewe | March 15, 2023
I know where the spoons go now
and the mugs.
The first weeks meandered,
chipped ceramic mugs
wobbling with hot tea. You hum to the tap tap
tap of the knife, noise lost in thick, citrus air.
You leave the butter on the shelf
so that it stays soft.
Home of turned backs,
so I am no fun. Disengaged. At eight,
your father taught you argument,
inheritance of raised voice. Turn windward,
bow your head. This steeliness was a sudden storm, so
I wore silence, hand-me-down
genes, soft rug of rain, muffled.
The apricot chair is for the cat;
you won’t sit on it.
When fear fell away it happened softly, meat
off the bone. Time to stop flinching, thinking,
Time for urges: to cling to t-shirts,
dart from rooms.
You chew on the inside of your cheek
I forget to turn the bathroom light off.
Often, we seemed like a syncytium. One organism, close
enough to get complacent, forget we were separate. All
closeness and irony like membrane on membrane. Inky
underbelly of wanting, of cold panic. Of “I trust you now.”
All your shoes have that scuff
across the left ankle.
You notice the lines of my face. Watch
them furrow, reach across the table. Deft as a slap,
denying its power. Thrilling, isn’t it,
to uproot bitter tongues, speak our mind.
Watch these arguments crystallise,
more beautiful than the silence we stole them from.
You tried to keep her in one place. The cat,
her tail, balloon string through your fingers.
In this cold the air stiffens and brows knot, but look – sun, skin,
a jolt. It bought us months, that hand across the table.
You leave the light on now.
For me, I think.
Words by Millie Crewe.
Art by Louis Rush.