Friends by Victoria Holt. 2016




She moves the vase out of direct sunlight

and onto a hand-me-down wooden table

that’s greyly filmed in spider-webbed dust,

the slender necks of the flowers craning

towards the hopeful blue rectangle of sky.


He said he’d bought her tiger lilies

because they reminded him of her sunset hair.

But by the time the last of the faded petals falls

and the water has turned stagnant green

she knows that she won’t see him again.







It’s just a parlour game

we play on rainy afternoons,


razoring lines down our arms

until red criss-crosses white.


She always wins.

She always regrets it.


Rubbing India ink into scars

that transforms her flesh


into a field of rabbits,

foxes and brooding crows


that undulate when she flexes

and releases her biceps:


a menagerie that slowly fades

until the next time we play.


About the Author:

Susan Darlington is a freelance arts journalist and poet. Her debut collection, Under The Devil’s Moon, is available now through Penniless Press Publications.