Photo by Marten Bjork
You, who have been sought in all the lonely places, (should my mouth be berries and ash) will you come to this locked room? Will you come in dimmed-down dark, a purple sash across the bed? (Should I find myself a cell, a heath instead.) The en-suite is electric, white as paradise, its articles of faith un-bagged, arranged: toothbrush, moisturiser, shower gel, and just in case a box of paracetamol – everything designed to keep us fresh, to keep us safe & well. The flat-screen sleeps, the Wi-Fi is at rest, though it can never be at peace. Be near me now. I feel an emptying out and hear a stifled spill from pub to street as farewells scatter on the night. A car door slams. I’m four flights up and sealed in. Will you come? My arms are open and I wait, poised on the brutal creases of this sheet.
Inside the Whale
She will have peril: Daniel locked in with the lions, or Goliath felled like a tree. Tonight we’re fleeing God with Jonah, clambering aboard a ship bound for Tarshish before that plunge into a freezing sea, and though we’ve read this chunk of ancient storytelling many times, tonight it’s true, truer than anything I know to be – for who hasn’t known the inside of a whale’s belly, how it feels to crouch there in a breathing cave not seeing any world outside, only rocking over waters, eyes closed, longing for deliverance.