bird

In school

Crouching
on the threshold
as the door closes.
Rattling glass,
downy feathers ruffled,
shivering cold blue sky outside.

Get up.
Keep moving.
Don’t step on the cracks.
And breathe,
breathe,
breathe in your own words,
breathe out into your cold hands
just a bit of warmth,
then
hands in pockets.
Find some stillness
below the branches,
between the lines on ruled paper
against the wall under the coat racks.

But sooner or later:
scraped off the floor
like old chewing gum.
Maybe surviving
on leftover bits of laughter in the corridors,
sideways glances,
shiver of a smile.
Hungering for
just one hand
just one face
just one mouth
just one door
to open.

Those dreams are just shadows on the wall
before you switch off the light at bedtime.

I know what it’s like
I still remember.

Hell is
hallway demons
pulling you down,
sharp-clawed silence
as they turn,
whispers
like pencil-lead bullets lodged in your gut.

Heaven is
light
as a feather.
Blown away.

Copyright Maria Haskins 2015

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This poem can be found in my book ‘Cuts & Collected Poems 1989 – 2015’.

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