Tag Archives: Rebecca Parfitt

At the River

by Rebecca Parfitt

I dreamt about you again last night,
of togetherness, the river
and flowers.
My long yellow dress blowing in the wind,
our arms wrapped around each other
as we walked the path
through the garden
to the boat.

But this time we did not speak.
I was silent,
you waited for me to say it.
The words always at the edge of my tongue,
like barbs,
to say them would draw blood,
would reveal us in our watery truth.

The river knows
my tongue remained still
and you turned your back
and walked away.


Snapped-Bone Branch

by Rebecca Parfitt

I brought home a stick of poisonous berries,
a lightning branch ripped from a tree,
torn white flesh under bark –
remembered you almost ruined me.

The berries hold their own bulbs of blood
my capsuled love – a fleshwound in my little fisted hand;
burst heart, snapped-bone branch,
sprawling fingers reach
as you claw your way into my dreams.

I pick the globules, put the berries into my mouth
and try to murder my nights full of you.
An owl’s call empties into the folds of darkness,
senses a predator’s hunger just like his.

If I could send you from my body with a long cry
I’d have you disappeared to the biting air.
Yet this lightning branch spreads across the sky
my forked fingers dig in,
these poisonous droplets seek you out.

Sea Bed

by Rebecca Parfitt

You want to hold onto me
as though I might drown if you let go.
Our sea bed, white waved sheets
showed a rough crossing
to a place neither of us knew yet.

You cling to me as I try to get out
to reach the sunlit floor of morning
to see what the surface is like without you.
With each movement I tip the sea bed a little more
and the white waved sheets rise higher
and the salt water from our bodies seeps in.
I might drown if you let go.

Can I hold you? You ask.
Only if you let go when I am ready, I reply.

Love in the Crackling Deep

by Rebecca Parfitt

The beauty of your arm is exactly like that of your body,
if I didn’t know your body I would want it,
just from seeing the shape of your arm – Anaïs Nin

The air between us is leaden.
You clumsily reach in,
pulling threads around me,
the strands of hair from my face.
Holding the parts you feel safe with,
the parts that won’t lead you anywhere else,
won’t lead you into another silence
more difficult than this.

When we held hands, like children,
we didn’t know what to do next
but reaffirm this. This empty space
that could have been us,
that is not yet filled,
is an imprint of us
without us.

So I held the skin between your finger and thumb
until you withdrew, said nothing
and watched me leave,
entering a gale that threw your fingerprints
across my body, marking me
all over again.

The Un-wanting

by Rebecca Parfitt

There, behind your eyes
are the lies fringed by your lashes,
hiding the essence of you,
the piece I was looking for
and didn’t find.
I saw my reflection –
the sight of me sitting there,
in the gloomy green room
waiting for you when you were already gone.
Willing to strip my tongue of its taste for you,
and the words which slipped up from the deep red
that emptied out so readily
to be met with nothing.
They disappeared into the wind
in this place where I called out for you, once,
and you killed me with silence.

Now I wait for the moment
when I am the smoking gun,
released of its awful load,
emptied of you.


by Rebecca Parfitt

‘In making for ourselves a place to live,
we first spread a parasol to throw a shadow on the earth,
and in the pale light of the shadow we put together a house.’

Jun’ Ichiro Tanizaki

Underneath the bough of sleep
I waited for the walls to build around me:
a canopy above, silk stretched across
this, my shelter, my place where the shadows fall.
I imagined our home and took it with me,
folding the edges with my fingers,
smoothing the walls with my hands.

My eyes carry the view – even now, through the window I see
the runner-beans, the rhubarb growing slowly outside,
working their way towards the sunlight.
They build their own canopy,
their flowers like offspring –
babies in blankets.
At night the moon shines,
silver disc encircled by the black deep.
There I am, underneath,
clutching hold of my childhood,
the porcelain lion and the musical box,
watching the ballerina turning,
fast at first, then slowly the tune
drags and stretches to nothing,
as if the sound is squeezed out
until it loses breath and stops.
The ballerina is left staring into the mirror
and I at the ballerina.
I close the lid letting the shadow darken the past,
then slide underneath the bough of sleep
and wait for the walls to build around me.

I imagined our home and took it with me,
folding the edges with my fingers,
smoothing the walls with my hands.
Here I built you a house when the snow cleared.
I built you a house when the first crocus appeared.
Come under me,
under the shelter of the bowed tree.


by Rebecca Parfitt

I’m unpicking the stitches you sewed
as I lay under you, your fingers fine as needles
fraying my skin, embedding yourself inside.

I find pieces of you I’d forgotten I carried,
pieces I can’t remove.
I want to turn myself inside out and slowly,
unwind the thread, let the trail fall behind me
as you follow

                               but I’ll be gone when you turn the corner,
               just a snag of my dress caught on a bramble
               and the blood of berries left crushed on the road,
               replacing the heart you once held in your hands.