Regret calls out in the night like matricide.
My dawn is blood stained. My dawn is menstruation.
I sleep holding your hand, we never let go hands.
The sheets stay perfect, no kinks or creases.
We lie like the dead, like we’ve never touched.
We lie on our backs and our eyes don’t dare open.
I just want you to slip a hand to my thigh.
We would kill one another just as soon as we’d kiss.
The static sheets slip slowly over our heads.
Melissa Lee-Houghton's first poetry collection was published by Penned In The Margins in 2011. Her poetry has been published widely in magazines including Tears In The Fence, Magma, Succour, Poetry Salzburg Review, 3:AM and she has work upcoming in The Reader. She writes reviews for The Short Review.
| By Melissa Lee-Houghton, UK (Published in Issue 16)|
Mama wishes she could drive around in his van,
relax the seatbelt off the baby bump, just crawl around at 30
until she finds him, convinces him to come home-
there’s nothing he can do about it now, he has stiffened
the small of her back;
the pain comes when it comes-
when he rolls in at midnight the baby is turning over and over
like a new bad memory. He can’t do this anymore.
It takes a great man to do great things.
She appeals to him one morning-
where are you trying to go, do you think one day you’ll run
around and far enough away; you’ll be a lonely man, she says.
But tonight she takes his limp hand, this great drunk body,
lithe as a new carcass. In silence
they slow dance the first dance they never had,
his catatonic arms slouch over her shoulders
and her belly is in the way, hardening, softening.
She takes his weight and they waltz.