Black ice skitters us sideways,
Toes curling to grip what can’t be gripped,
We fold in together, back in the jack-in-the-box,
Bruised fabrics and china faces, almost smashed
But only crumpled like plastic bottles
In skips they fall against, blueing and breaking red lines
On precious skin.
Dust rises against noses and mouths,
Twists into taste with the remainder of suckled sweets,
Shuddering tarmac emits dark smells,
And we avoid doorways like the spirit of Passover,
The earth splinters, ripping things apart
That should only revolve slowly,
Like tufts of snow.
Water chucks chins, cranking necks,
Pressure builds in stomachs and hearts,
Legs flounder like they’re caught in machines,
Cogs still turning, grinding them into the world,
And then the lid of the earth slams down,
Latching its final latch on its impenetrable
Steel water chest.
It is not these things I fear,
Not the dark destructions of a turning world,
Mother Earth can take me as she chooses.
No, I fear the wrath of untended hands
squeezing finders through my ribs.
I fear a misstep, scabbing my face shut
I fear the ticking shelves in my skull
will tip over and plunge me into the goldfish bowl
of empty memories.
Roma Havers is a Manchester-based poet, currently in her third year of an Drama and English degree at The University of Manchester where she is the Books Editor for The Mancunion and Chair of the Creative Writing Society. She performs regularly at spoken word nights, and events such as Reclaim the Night and UniPresents.