Two Poems – Julie Stevens


They’re always there. Deadly still,
bowl eyes open, their hooks on me.
Figures bought to cheer and fire this room
back to wild days, lolling around in shorts.
You won’t take me there now, I implore,
as I have work to do, lines to feed.

You twitched, rolled that hand over lips
that try to open, murmur words to shock.
My gaze, my thoughts, I need to reel back −
this white page is too clean.
You stare, like a meddling neighbour
and here I am, throwing back the punch.

I will turn you round −
your glass eyes can mock elsewhere,
find another body to bleed.

Without Hands

I can see the end now.
A thin shadow laid on the path
signalling each step.

Time has changed.
Clock ticks are now weary,
but he’s slowed down too,

always at my side
holding me up.
The path seems to stretch further

every time I start to walk.
How his words swallow gravel
and lay the ground smooth.

I want to grab a hand
but these sticks are too hot;
metal rods burning the way.

A tap for freedom, a tap building a wall.
Comfort is having you there,
beating back storms.

You carry me,
even though your hands are tied.

Julie Stevens writes poems sometimes reflecting the impact Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has on her life. Her poems have recently been published in Ink Sweat & Tears, Sarasvati and The Honest Ulsterman. Her winning Stickleback pamphlet Balancing Act was published by Hedgehog Poetry Press (June 2021) and her debut chapbook Quicksand by Dreich (Sept, 2020). Website: Twitter: @julesjumping. Instagram: @jumpingjulespoetry.

Banner Art: The Red Sky (2022) (c) Robert Frede Kenter. Twitter: @frede_kenter

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