What it used to be like

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First she saw the orange wheelbarrow
and was drawn towards that,
and then she noticed the orange scarecrow
and instead wanted that.

And when, on her birthday
she opened first the orange
and then the green,
it finally all made sense

because orange was the colour of sensuality
and a newfound enjoyment for life
and green was the colour of healing
necessary to awaken that.

So she placed them outside on either side
of her small but perfectly proportioned garden
to watch over her and encourage her
while she slowly remembered what it used to be like.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Secrets and lies

imageTrying to be authentic, she writes.
But her words are hollow
and they fail to convey anything.

Her sister turned thirty today
reminding her of own big ‘three-o’,
years ago now
which she regrets.

Walking through London,
she passes the restaurant where she celebrated,
just her and him in a booth.

He gave her a ring.
It didn’t fit,
and the promise that accompanied it
is still waiting to be kept.

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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It’s my party

imageGrey clouds, wet sky, drizzle; me, soaking it up – Uggs beyond saving, coat part-drowned, hair flat. On any other day… not so bad; but today: tragic.

I should have known there would be a rapid deterioration from here: therapist hiding behind an opaque veneer; eyes slip-sliding – mentally absent, disinterested in me; subsequent drawing consequently traumatic, submerged beneath layers of ink: shop assistants attacking, pedestrians snapping, the tube packed… Only the ‘should’ I ought to have been aware of was in hiding and I wasn’t aware of anything until afternoon turned up.

Black and blue from too much walking, talking to myself, I wander and search, visiting every known bolt-hole for a place to write. Gradually conceding, giving up; admitting defeat…

Hours later – slipping limply into a dark interior, bedraggled and worn out – I borrow a chair and invest in two cups; one’s cold and disastrous, the other’s delightful and hot.

A failed attempt at writing, and I reach into my bag, realising there is nothing for it but to bring the ‘thing’ out. Twisted and tangled, it’s grumpy and upset, anxious to be loved and lonesome without it.

Ballpoint braced, I revisit the page: pen dancing and glancing, mind whirring and incurring, repeating the lines I earlier, under intimidation, made.

A girl appears: unhappy, young; hair streaming, eyes leaking, mouth a crooked O.

Then words appear: ‘chaos’ incorrectly spelt; ‘cry’ back-to-front; ‘help’ upended. And, finally, I laugh, the irony catching up.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

imageTo keep up to date with my progress and receive a copy of my newsletter, send me your email address.

• View or buy my work at my online portfolio