This piece is part of our ongoing series 'Poem of the Month'. Every month, the Writer's Edit team selects their favourite submission and provides detailed feedback to the author.
Stay tuned for an interview with Katherine O'Chee, discussing her inspirations and literary influences.
Unravel by Katherine O'Chee
tiny dance marks left on the walls of ancient,
crawling veins like lazy Sunday morns of shadowed floors,
cluttered cups and the fresh brew of coffee whizzing ’bout
dazed heads and dreaming eyes;
a dream cradled by her mother’s memory
lies sprawled in the strolls of sunlight that are
touching, crossing, meeting hand in hand
in spiderwebs clutching to the final strings of fantasy
but his footsteps turn silver into rust:
the elastics of imagination paint her skin in
biting red, and she grips her legs,
grips her rocking soul, grips the tears
descending to a fallen heaven
till she forgets her name,
forgets to see.
(She tells him: The blind never wanted to be blind.)
but the sight of day feasts in dark, still tastes
of broken glass, smashed, smeared across
bruised lungs and breaths so soft
he leaned in and still heard nothing.
(She tells him: The quiet kills.)
the classroom shrieks; slashes wild strokes
of symphony against canvases
built solely to be broken; clashes screams with
louder screams; snatches silence by its throat till
it tussled, then it died.
she kneels in crosshatches
of darkness, where the granite’s cold
and the lines in her heart uncoil;
presses hands against her ears; pushes,
pushes away the folds of chaos flapping,
expanding, exploding in the space between
shadows and a shrinking wall
someone holds her arm. a smile greets
her weary sleeves, pries her fingers from its knuckled white,
like moonlight’s lull pulling aimless tides to shore,
peppering skies with unblown dusts of night.
the classroom’s screaming messes of a chant,
smudging blood within their cries
but this boy with dusty hair doesn’t speak.
there’s a silence, timid eyes drifting to
the stillness of another, then
he taps a tune, taps the braid below
her nape, taps her flinch away.
(He tells her: Loudness poisons, then it kills. But the silence heals.)
How then she found heartbeats of her time rife
in silhouettes where day and night collide;
where touching thoughts of silence back to life
untangles knotted breaths and laces tied
to still lips; where endless dreams of static
are stuttered by the strands of silver dust
nuzzling his heart and hers erratic;
where clandestine heavens chip the rust
of tainted youth and peel its ache away;
where the oceans simmering in their chests
implode, and fingers litter lingerie
on carpet floors; her ancient scars undressed,
his eyes anchor her fleeing gaze in place:
an unravelled love no space could erase.
(He tells her: Love is blind, but the blind see better than most.)