Rachael Barnes-Powell


Silk-obligations tie me to the universe
One hundred neat umbilical cords
birthed deep from stomach-core

I have waited breathless
upon my cat’s cradle
Afraid of sending shivers
down the spider’s web
or falling into mouth open below

Strands weave my fingers into chrysalis
Burying gentle skin under
tarblack chains
How they have forgotten
the sun’s touch
Knowing only bookpages
and the crass chill of glasses
too often broken

From my hips grows silver thread
A rope measured
in kisses given and received
in hands held and dropped
Paramours waiting for my return
pull the custodial fishing line
Hook me back to reality

But the surface chokes me
Loud colours leave me longing
for the quiet stasis
of my underwater crypt
So I sink once more
into my benthic home



I am adrift amongst months
Of starvation, of isolation
Losing a custody battle for my own mind

By nurturing loneliness
I have learnt that freedom is death
My dreams are haunted by those I once loved
Every night I am back in their arms
But when I wake
I find myself alone

All my secrets are hidden under the bed
Gathering dust with the monsters
A few simple words would lift
Their life sentence
If only I knew where to begin

Conversation was never one of my strengths
My tongue too often stumbled
Over unchartered ground
My heart is the only one who talks to me now

I used to be reassured
By that murmur in my throat
Comforted to learn some part of me
Was still alive
Now my heartbeats toll like church bells
Counting out my existence in quarters
Dropping the spare change down a well

Clothes hang in my wardrobe
Material shrouds memorialising past egos
My sixteenth year patterned
With tropical flowers and ironic Americana
First dates and heartbreaks tailored
In deep reds and deeper blacks
History shed like snake skin
Strung up on wire hangers to dry

These days
I am too afraid to open the wardrobe doors
All too aware of the cold mirror
Baring its teeth for me
Solid metal crux reflecting……………. nothing
Blank face hanging heavy above formless being
Awkward hands no longer seeming my own

It does not bother me
I have struck off the shooting veins
Straining for sunlight’s touch
Left my bulb to wither
Six feet under

Rachael Barnes-Powell is twenty-years-old and has been writing regularly for the last five years. She enjoys using poetry to make the commonplace seem abstract and otherworldly, and is interested in establishing an element of mystery or romance in her writing. She believes that language is a gift, that food has healing powers, and that silence should be cherished.