SPOTLIGHT-Songs from the Witch Bottle: cytoplasmic variations by Louise Longson

Terminal Velocity

Camouflaged, stippled,
part of the scenery, the bed,
the innocent flow; silhouetted
in reeds, shadowed

in river alleys, a solitary hunter
lies motionless, still,

Feels the vibration of passing time
patiently, knowing
the inevitable kill will come –

drifting closer.

Accelerating out of the murk –
a silent, serrated strike.

Sediment stirs,

Top of the Pops

When I recall Him, it is Thursday and the taste
of Walker’s crisps. The sharp-salt and vinegar-
wince of waiting for Him to come.

Mum and Dad are at their parties
for Tupperware and Socialism.
It will be finished when they get back.

He is here in the living-room
with me; squirming and bouncing
on the settee, I push
my fists into my mouth,
to stop my screams.

Sleep takes time. I keep thinking
about Him. Something I don’t know
about is happening in my belly,
under my breastbone.

Mum comes in to check the light is off,
I’m not still reading.
I don’t have the words
to tell her.

Those many talks
we never had, I remember
more vividly than any.

The next day, I remember, too.
It was the day I started bleeding.


there is a deep blue
neon-lit underworld
with a bubble-machine

an atmosphere thicker
than the plot
of boy meets girl

she hides away
from the iridescent


lured by a bright reflection
she swallows
the bait

an infinite rush
pulls her up


she dances
at the end
of the line

The Song of Eleanor Rigby

The shades of the window
are always drawn, now.

My thin reflection haunts the black-
spotted mirror.

I have become dusk-scented;
a moth-pollinated bloom.

The brush of wings jars
against my face.
Their kiss is made of dust.

I am cloistered in shadows
in an obscure room,
left behind
a closed door.

In my dream,
I travel far
through spiral galaxies,

lighted by the moon.


My body is swollen
with prophylactic secrets:

hacked off tangles of hair,
spliced parings of nails;
bent, rusted pins,

teeth and bones, rotted
with centuries of regurgitated lies.

Steep me in piss
and blood,

seal me in stone.

Bury me in earth
so deep I do not break


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