Spines/New Poem (Rough First Draft)

Rough draft of a new poem. This week is Eating Disorder’s Awareness Week. Please spare a thought for those suffering with an eating disorder and their families and those who have passed over too young.




You say the trees look like spines

right in my ear, your breath warm,

smelling of cinnamon.


I think of the oven back home.

That word ‘spines’ momentarily

makes the bones in my knees fidget,


the valves in my heart work at double

speed. I suddenly want all that extra space

in your oversized jumper.


On me it would look fucking ridiculous.

On you, it looks too fucking cool.


I remember that night you said I looked

like a dying hunter, not knowing what

they were after, when you followed


me to the woods. You watched and screamed

a scream that would harpoon  the heart

of any parent as I skated over the last ice.


I was sort of light enough then.


I remember the year after we learnt

what bears genuinely did in the wild,

and we’d seen the Blair Witch Project


three times you, we’d go out every

Thursday night and you’d fling your glossy

head backwards. Your hands would fluidly

fold over the hands of some suave professional.


I wouldn’t flirt, I’d rattle and even then they’d

be looking over my sharp mountain shoulders

 to where you laughed. Conversation with me


would quickly become an injury. I’d get a taxi

home. Early. Alone.


While you and your friends picked at spots

like you were pulling grit from a cut, I counted

the bones in my hands and blinked tears like thorns.


People’s eyes would border with guilt  if I caught

them looking. I wanted the sun to be adjustable

so I could pull it out of sight.


You had several going out dresses. They all fit you.

I had safety pins, baggy material.


It all became about fistfights at sunrise,

and me disappearing like a homeless comet.


Now, it’s nice. We’re both well.

We say ‘I love you sis’

to each other.


Some years ago the trees like spines

would have been my rivals, today

they’re my companions.