Rhiannon Humphreys

Imagine if I had been born beautiful.
Not all skinny limbs and sickness,
But full bodied and golden hued.
Not a clowning pallor of green tinged yellow,
But crying, a fireball, ready to burn.

Instead, I lie, a mannequin with cloth arms,
Sodden and clothed with the clods of my first tears.
Gently ticking, humming, imperceptible.


Thoughts in Tesco, 5pm: a Tuesday in December

Perhaps my fear isn’t of them,
As it was before,
But a fear of my past self.
The discarded rotten core

Decomposing now, but
With a stench that still lingers.
Though fresh shoots push through,
The peat clings to my fingers.

And so, I dig my fork into the earth,
And let the fresh compost see the sun –
Smiling as worms work through the cockles of my heart –
I’ll keep turning until it’s gone.


A Poem About Dissociation and Birdsong

I don’t remember myself from year to year.
Each phase of the moon feels like new;
not even a reincarnation, but a birth,
a virgin being in which only a few,
smoky, disarming memories remain.
An army of souls pass through me –
only the casket remains the same.

Call me Kebechet*, and someone in me will respond.
Each mole on my body is a star
that guides my unfamiliar hands at night,
reassures me, “this is who you are”,
and reminds me of home.
My father gave me these. The call of the nightjar,
it’s churring beat, anchors me, its wing a comb

That untangles the knots inside my head
as I lay upon my bed. My tangibility tingles down my body,
the flavour of being alive seeping and sparking in my mouth
like the juice from a tangerine, sweet and heady.
Suddenly, defibrillated: boots, earrings, music, on.
The churring has stopped, and I’m alive, ready, gone.

*Kebechet was the Egyptian goddess of purification
and is associated with the practice of embalming
and mummification. She is sometimes referred to
as the “wandering goddess” or the “lost child”.

Rhiannon Humphreys is a third-year English Literature student at Cardiff University. She has been writing poetry since she started university, initially in order to process her emotions and as an alternative to journaling. Now she regards her writing as more artistic and enjoys trying to abstract her feelings and experiences in order to produce more detached, less confessional work. Alongside writing poetry, she is also a musician.