I Try Not to Place a Brow in

by | Apr 11, 2023 | Issue Thirty-Two, Poetry

This is the fourth season—counting backwards, that I haven’t heard from her. I’d met Madeleine in September, and left her there, too, eight years later by the Salines, red-brown and ribbed as her hair in rain. It’s difficult to tell apart what the heart remembers, and what the head remembers. But still, memory is what returns without returning—no old leaf will come back in spring. Yet, the trees are patient. How much certainty in unreturnable friendship does it take, to delete each other’s Candy Crush scores?


The night’s black pepper falls. I’m up at 4 am and already self-improving; I watch a tutorial. How to really wear a slim fit shirt without looking like a fool—still in pyjamas and my husband’s fleece dressing gown, because grief, today I haven’t a muscle to clothe you. I want something. My sadness, too, wants something.  I search for her the way air searches for a flute hole. I’m motivated to remember again, the ease of her face. A pond of hungry carp. Each sparkle of light, a flake to her freckles. Try not to place a brow in, a septum. The t-zone. There’s this joke my father tells: “a sandwich walks up the stairs, realises it can’t walk and runs back down again”, and I live by it.

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