Welephant had done too good a job on me

him and all the scare-scar horror stories.

Boy who, on November 6th, picked up – he’d thought – 
a dead firework. Boy now with no face.

Girl who stood too close to the fire in a shellsuit – 
green and purple glued her a second skin.

Birthday sparklers, gas hobs, Bunsen burners
the casual lighter-flicks of the smoker girls in school.

Me, 19 years old. Still petrified.


He stands me at the utility room worktop
in the dream cottage he’d restored with Wife No.2

the counter where she spoons the cat-food
whole other room from the show kitchen.

He squares the small oblong in my palm
its rough sides flinch my fingers.

We’ll do every one together until you can.

His hand cups mine steady
guides me to do something practical, useful.

Love – matchbox-sized – 
terrifying with each strike

proves to me I can be safe

whatever lies in years either side.

About the Author

Holly Magill’s poetry has appeared in numerous magazines, including The Interpreter’s House, Bare Fiction, and Under The Radar, and anthologies –Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press) and #MeToo: A Women’s Poetry Anthology (Fair Acre Press). She won first prize in the 2019 Cannon Poets ‘sonnet or Not’ competition. She co-edits Atrium – www.atriumpoetry.com. Her debut pamphlet, The Becoming of Lady Flambé, is available from Indigo Dreams Publishing. https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/holly-magill/4594330527