Gill Learner

Strange Beast

I barely noticed it at first: it lay silent in a corner,
unfazed by laughter, tears, irreverence.
While I auto-piloted through a bureaucratic haze, it may
have twitched an ear, held out a paw as if saying
‘I’m still here’. It was ignored.

But as days took on new patterns, I became aware,
saw it start to grow. Before long it emerged full-size
to prowl, wrap itself round my legs or lash my arm.
Some mornings I awoke and thought it gone;
others I found its chill weight on my chest.

Weeks passed. Although I learned to lock it in the house,
at times it would escape, stalk me, grab me by the throat
so that I fought to find my voice. As everybody says, time
will tame it, blunt those claws, those teeth.
I know, I know.

Gill Learner has won several prizes, including the Poetry Society’s Hamish Canham award, and been published in a wide range of magazines and anthologies. She subscribes to too many magazines, including Acumen, and loves reading her poems to an audience. Her collections, The Agister’s Experiment (2011) and Chill Factor (2016), are from Two Rivers Press. She is currently working on a third for possibly publication in 2021.

 

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