I wish for brother to be not
such an unfamiliar word to me
lighting candles and minds with
stories, climbing mountains made
out of the storeys of the house
we almost grew up in together –
backpacks on, climbing shoes, ropes
made out of bedsheets, tiny
mountaineers opining on everything,
opening gifts at Christmas, now pining
for rewinding – if we could, I wish
we could do it together
Dad says “Fluids!”, when we complain we are hot.
“You’re dehydrated,” he says, even if we think we’re not.
“You need fluids!” Dad says, when we’re playing in the garden.
“Fluids!” he says, when we pound the streets of London.
“Fluids!” he says in Paris as we watch Mickey’s parade.
“Fluids!” he says, as we retreat into the shade.
“Fluids!” Dad says, in Portsmouth and in Yarmouth.
“Fluids!” Dad says, and every time we laugh.
“Fluids!” Dad says, as we walk on Jersey’s shores
“Fluids!” he says, in every place that we explore.
“Fluids!” he says, putting a drink in front of us.
“Looking forward to some fluids”, as we ride the airport bus.
“Fluids! Get it down yer”, when we’re in town, shopping.
“Fluids!” in Orlando, when we’re Disney park-hopping.
“Fluids!” is his mantra up in the Scottish Highlands.
“Fluids!” as we float towards Gothenburg’s islands.
“Fluids!” he says in Miami, Wales and Spain
And on the beach in the Bahamas he repeats himself again.
“Fluids!” Dad says, in Nottingham and Birmingham.
“Fluids!” Dad says, by the canals of Amsterdam.
“Fluids!” Dad says, as we push through Times Square.
“Fluids!” he barks and wags his finger in the air.
“Fluids!” he will say when we hunt for the Northern Lights,
“Fluids!” he will say when we sample Stockholm’s delights.
“Fluids!” He grins and stretches out the word.
“Fluids!” we all chant, as we explore the world.
I have been sheltering people subconsciously and still
when I send them the miniscule
they do not respond
why do they not respond?
it has been too hard to give them anything so far
and now I have given something they do not take it
take my ovaries
take my diseased womb
take everything that has to come with it
take my tears
take my worst fears
take everything I am showing you because it is nothing
compared to the rest of the things I have
I have so much stock in the back room
and then if you run out I will give you some more
see how you get on with this first I say
and they don’t take it
I can’t say anything more to convince them because
my voice box is shattered and speaking is too hard
it is shattered as in tired
shattered as in destroyed
shattered as in shards sticking in my throat
and what am I supposed to do with this?
what am I supposed to do with these fragments
of words they won’t take?
I cannot pull them out of my own throat
and put them inside someone else’s
there are other people who would happily take these shards
and eat them like sword swallowers
like fire eaters if it would spare me
there are people who would do anything to spare me
and other people who will not take my spare words
who will not spare me their words
any words would do
just to say message received
a delivery report
a read receipt signed in their handwriting
what am I supposed to do with this silence?
I can’t replace the shards in my throat with silence
I could soothe them with something soft
I could soothe myself with something soft
I can’t reach out
I can’t reach out
there is no future I can see
I am too afraid to look
cover my eyes
this isn’t me
I have shelved myself temporarily
and I need people to tell me that they still see me
to tell me I exist
to remove these shards
to tell me shards are not the only thing left in my world
replace the shards with real words
walk to me
reach out to me
touch me without expecting me to reach back
sometimes I can’t reach back so quickly
it’s the shards you see
those damn shards
every time I move
every time I try to speak they stick
I need everyone else to stick
take a shard and sand it down
sand me down
make me see me
make me see them and in seeing them see me
make me see them and in seeing they will see me
make me see them and in seeing them I will see me
remove the future from my sight where it can’t hurt me
remove the shards from my throat where they can’t bite me
fight for my sanity
make me see only the soft
make me see softly
speak to me softly
say anything softly
fucking anything softly
Sam Rose is a writer from England and the editor of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine. Her work has appeared in Scarlet Leaf Review, Rat’s Ass Review, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Haiku Journal, and others. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to rock music and eating too much chocolate. Find her at her website and on Twitter.