Hidden

Happiness evades me.

That’s a truth I can see.

Come and find me little one,

I set myself free.

For you cannot see me

If I keep hiding from thee

Good enough

Read Part I – ‘Mirror, mirror’ here

Read Part II – ‘Reflection’ here

R:

My perfect daughter? 

Someone like me. A lady with poise, intelligence and beauty. A lady who starts her day at the brink of dawn, opens the curtains and enjoys the perched birds up on her windowsill. My home must always be clean; put everything back where it was found in its precise angle (I will always know). Keep a clean cloth in your pocket to remove any specks of dust if one saw them. I digress. My perfect daughter will start the day much like me. She will lay out her day dress the evening before and come down in the morning, trimmed and farded. 

I had been given with what I had not wanted some years ago. She had all the intelligence, and if she tried, her beauty and poise would glow. I had been given a daughter I did not want, and I was to live with her until her adulthood. I thought through her teens she would begin to glow. To my disappointment, such thing did not happen. There were times when her face was in desperate need of freshening up – maybe some colour to the eyes, some rose to the cheeks – but she would not let me touch her. Instead she was consumed in her books, her writing. Much like I used to be. Her hair was unkempt, her nails seldom painted and her bedroom always a mess. 

I must admit that she is not completely full of flaws. She taught me ever so much, since being given to me. I found it difficult at first, as my upbringing was completely different, and frankly I am a little difficult to persuade. The good news is that I no longer live my life in the past. She taught me to leave my regret, my anger and sadness and start living everyday as if it were my last. I no longer worry what others think of me; how I look or speak. She taught the value of beauty both inside and out. She made me realise how empty, vain and narrow I once was, and why I was disliked by so many. She was once the bane of my life but now I wish to be just like her, my imperfectly perfect daughter. 

C: 

What is a perfect mum?

Exactly like mine, no doubt about it. She’s awake everyday by 5am and plays her radio loudly. It used to drive me insane, but I learned to sleep through it soon enough. When I eventually get up and make my way downstairs, our breakfast is always laid out on the table and next to it, our pre-packed lunches for the day – with a drink and a homemade snack. She was never into processed foods. I longed to be awake by dawn every morning, but my lazy manners did not agree with me – mum always hated me for that, I hated myself too – but she doesn’t know. 

She gave me a lot of grief during my childhood and teens, but it’s understandable. I was awfully big, unkempt and overall just ugly. There were pictures of her at my age, hung up proudly in grandmothers home. She was the opposite of me. She was beautiful. And intelligent too. She was going to be a doctor before I came along, which is probably why she was always so disappointed in me. She preferred my sibling, I just knew. Why? They were more like her. 

I was tormented for a long time. God gave you hair, brush it. You were blessed with lovely long legs, show them off. In all honestly, I preferred being comfortable. She hated it. She tried to change me but failed. She asked other people to change me, they all failed. I wish I had been a little more cooperative though, as I may have looked a little beautiful today. She has her flaws, yes I know. But she gave up everything to look after me. She’s allowed to hate me, I owe it to her. 

Something unusual happened one day. I broke my mirror and she bellowed at me, leaving me to spend the night in tears. I decided to ignore her for the week; on the second day, she called me up to her room as if nothing had happened. She asked me to teach me my philosophy of life. And I did. She stayed silent after I finished and I left the room. 

Why is my mum the most perfect of all?

The next day she apologised. 

Reflection

Read Part I – ‘Mirror, mirror’ here

Rashida Stone heard clatter when she was watching television one evening. 

The little one ran in. 

Cindy broke the mirror, she said with a smirk 

A rarity, Cindy getting into trouble. Something the little one longed for. 

Rashida shrieked. Her best friend had told her there was always a clumsy one.

She now knew who it was. 

‘Unbelievable’ she thought, the third one she’s ever broken 

is what she wishes she said.

Instead the words came out loud and sharp, something ever so unpleasing. You see, Rashida claimed she had never said a foul word until she had children. Now they were all she ever said.

Cindy cleaned. Rashida did not help, or even peak, and even refused to listen to what happened.

In her mind, she was always right – arrogance thrived her, pride became her warmth. 

There was a part of Rashida that softened for the likeness of her children; all except one. 

Cindy and Rashida bumped paths at the door of Cindy’s bedroom.

They had been avoiding each other all night, both for different reasons. 

Cindy cowered. Rashida screamed and screamed for no apparent reason. 

Was the mirror expensive? No. Was it of sentimental value? No. 

Then what exactly was the problem? Not even Rashida knew.

Cindy cried all night. Rashida could hear her from floor one.

She reflected on her action, her overreaction and wondered what she had done wrong.

Her daughters sadness prolonged into the night, and then Rashida knew.

This wasn’t the first time such thing had taken place. 

Cindy was sad. Sad for a long time and would be sad in years to come – she thought. 

Rashida opposed her daughter. The happiest of person but the narrowest of minds; her opinions came through the mouths of others, her thoughts stolen from the depths of minds. 

Rashida stayed up and thought about her overreaction. She admitted she was wrong. 

She reflected upon her attitude until the dull humming of Cindy’s weep disappeared. Cindy’s light switch clicked, and both mother and daughter fell asleep. 

Apologies.

In the morning, it seemed as if Cindy’s mother had forgotten about last nights debacle. 

She avoided her mother all day; Rashida wondered why.

They both moved on but Cindy never knew.

Never knew if she was truly forgiven for her crime. 

Mirror, Mirror

Seven years ago, seven years to go

I thought my mischance was gone,

But as I opened the door, you flung off the wall and become a bundle of messy shattered shards. 

Stunned, I was, as I tiptoed around you.

Where do I start, how to pick up the pieces?

It was the seventh day of my week. It was blissful until you cracked. 

I picked you up whilst your pieces scratched and bore into my vessels.

I profusely bled all over you. Emotionless face, motionless you. 

The little one told Mama. 

You fell on me before. Seven years ago.

Mama cleaned it up without hesitation. 

They said its not good for me and they said good luck. 

It took me seven years to realise, and in seven years I will realise

that your myths aren’t true at all. 

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

You saw me at my worst yet you never spilled my secrets.

I smiled at you everyday for you to envy my perfection. 

You bow down to me on the ground even though you’re broken. 

You couldn’t take me anymore, so you gave in. 

The brightest of suicides ever seen. 

Your deafness was for the best.

Screams, thunder, lorries, hurricanes, colliding plates with floor.

Soft, hysterical crying. 

Sounds you were oblivious to. 

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I lifted you up and you crackled some more. 

I didn’t know you during your hay days

but now I know that I am nothing without you. 

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

Look at me once more 

while I examine myself in your shrivelled body 

and endless blindness haunts you. 

That cake shop down the road

I saw her the other day  

in that cake shop down the road.

Mum’s old friend, or should I say

the wife of mum’s old friend?

Or should I say

the wife of mum’s old special friend?

The one who came over when dad was working.

I saw her the other day

standing with her daughter next to that cake shop down the road.

She saw me too but turned away,

probably mistaking me for mum.

Most people do anyway.  

I saw her the other day with her daughter.  

She’s all grown up now; maybe six, seven, eight?

Wearing glasses now, ‘How ironic’

I thought.

He used to tease me about my glasses.

I saw him last at the cake shop too, 

after everything was over.

Mum had taken us there for a treat,

I wanted chocolate cake.

They saw each other and nodded.

It started when they exchanged numbers at church.

He first came over to build a wardrobe with dad.

Mum cooked for him and he went home.

He came again the next day and the day after that

and everyday after that.

Mostly when her or dad were working.

They told us it was a play date but didn’t say who for.

Mum came to sleep in my room one day.

I was woken up to the sound of her talking

to him.

That’s when I knew

that our perfect family was ruined.

Dad found out a few months later.

I saw her the other day,

working in that cake shop down the road.

The door chimed as I walked in.

She stopped. For a second she thought I was mum.

I asked her for the chocolate sponge.

She slid the window open to cut me a slice

and said nothing.

I paid the vendor and left.

Then I heard a quiet voice behind me.

“Have a nice day.”

This poem was submitted by Laura Persson from Sweden.

Fog

~ The want to vanish is not the need to fade away.

Go where the fog takes you for it will show you the way.

Go where the fog takes you, we won’t see you from afar.

Go where the fog takes you for one day it will lift and leave you behind. ~

Volcano

How still he lay. 

No noise, no noise.

A surprise to us all for there was 

no grumble, only poise. 

We still made sure to creep around on our tiptoes, 

for noise of any kind could wake him in an instant. 

He woke up one day.

There were no stirs, however. 

No noise, no noise. 

Only the awakening of a looming figure

watching over us. Examining us.

Waiting to catch us off guard. 

He stayed awake. 

We went by our day silently and on edge,

He sat in our view growing impatient from 

day to night and night to day.

But still there was no noise, no – 

The grumbles began. An impending doom; a surprise we saw coming. 

He roared, rumbled, screeched.

Molten substances of red, orange, yellow spat at us. 

His grumble thundering in our ears.

But he could not catch us each time, no matter how hard he tried.

He couldn’t get us, he didn’t want to. 

Instead he destroyed our surroundings,

The furnishings of our home, the the flowers of our bed.

Gone. 

He sat in silence, voiceless. 

His anger turned to sadness 

whilst his sadness turned to pain

We waited for silence to return upon us. 

We did not claim ourselves to be victims of his destruction.

We were just the trigger.

And with that, he lay dormant again. 

The aftermath was peaceful.

He helped us plant our flowers.

We hoped the blossoms would appear this time, 

before he came to destroy them once more. 


It rained today

This poem was displayed at ‘Displaced’ – an exhibition at University College London, showing the never before heard stories of the Sri Lankan civil war. 

It rained today. 

I ran outside as I heard its gentle drumming on the roof of my home. I admired those rare dark grey clouds; a bewilderment of emotions, so peaceful yet so terrorising.

I stuck out my hand and watched as perfectly formed droplets splashed against my palm in an uneven tempo. The rain had bought refreshment for the animals and comfort for the villagers.

It rained today. 

Not like any other. A deafening roar from planes above. Panic waved across the streets. Hysteria within the animals. Neighbours screaming ‘Run Inside!. Hide. 

It rained today. 

Not like any other. A metallic thunder pounding on my roof. Over my streets. 

We run into the depths of our homes. Running before its too late. 

But it got her. They got to her. Now a martyr, a number added to hundreds. Thousands.

She lays very still. My mother lays motionless. 

It rained today,

As I watched her burn before my eyes,

as I watched her ashes swimming away from me. Escaping.

The actions of my people infuriate me from the inside throughout. I want to fight.

But I stand here, shell shocked. 

It stopped raining today.

Over. The suffering is over. The sun emerges through the clouds.

A silver lining. A new beginning. 


Crowd surfer. By Tallulah Stone

Crowd surfer. Me, on a swarm.

Surfing the crowd to search for you, my love. My love?

You look the same. A duplicate. Fourty hundred people. All the same as you. Peach in tone from intoxicant, eating you from the inside through out, bubbling away a new corpuscle.

Hands prodding on my back. Backwards, forwards. Forwards and backwards. Fingers stabbing into my back. Any pain will do, to get to you. My love.

     You look the same as them. Bandana, Bindi, Booze. But different, droned my conscience.

I spot you. Far away. Staring. Stinging.

I spot you. Whiskers, sculpted, hair of blondey auburn. Bern. You’re holding something, Rhine. I told you, same as everyone else. But different. Too good for me.

You see my umbrage from the prodding hands yet you stare. Staring at my beauty or gratifying at my discomfort? I can never tell. That’s why you’re different. Too good for me.

But when I’m released from the prodding hands, you’re gone. Right, Left, Up, Down. Nowhere to be seen.

Gone, but you’ve left something behind. An electrifying sting. I want more.