Self-Portrait at 18 and Deep Light

By Charlotte Chadwick

Self-Portrait at 18:  I was secret and becoming wolfish

 

1.

I walk on the beach and the breeze slaps my face

and as usual I talk to you

and I almost hear you

respond

 

I have so many questions unspeakable frozen hot

all the small details you have

so far thrown me

I have gathered up

 

and I wear them close to my chest

and I touch them shining

as if by accident

one by one from start to finish

 

I want to kiss and pray to the furthest part of you

 

there are seagulls

 

there is a hell of a sky

 

you would like it

 

2.

repeating your exact phrase

to keep it in my body

 

the outer shell colours my breath

as its meanings change

 

gobstopper sweet

red amber green

 

the word residue clings

to my teeth and chokes me as

 

it sticks to the back of my throat

but it enters into my bloodstream

 

I practise your laugh

 

3.

oh my heart my heart

very little to do with me

 

light and hard

a small piece of balsa wood

 

miscellaneous

debris

 

an explanatory note

in its place

 

or perhaps strange exact splinters

mimicking

the shapes of dead bees on the ground

 

Deep Light

 

look she is entwined
gathering
beautiful phrases
and lost loves
to her bosom
to her neck
growing

each elegance
passing
stabbed into place
she kept it all nice

harmony always means someone is lying
even just the making it seem effortless
when she is trying so hard
terribly as it goes earnest

here she is found
the only one
again
heavy words
prompting love
to harden like shellac

here it was
the clang of our
woman tongues together
the falling silent and the shadow
of the text in my head that I
shone the light of my heart
brave behind and when i saw the
pattern the pieces made on the page
pushed send

and you came back

far from me in a thick salt crust
when i lost any right to your skin
grant me less than an inch of grace,
just this

my fingertips
the inside of your wrists

the blood
there
the same
pulse
the shared
breath

if i breathe you deep
oxygenating through
my fingers
at least my hands
stop turning blue
at least i can feel my toes
at least i can blink and swallow
the unravelling sky

now regarding the crack
the brick plain stain of what has been
she clutches marble fistfuls of fallen space
some heroic or tragicomic figure
remarkably human like

is she a good person now though
was she a good person then
and was she true

 

charlotte

 

Charlotte Marie Chadwick is originally from Aotearoa New Zealand, and currently based in London. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Sinister Wisdom, The Lavender Review, The Disappearing, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Cordite Poetry Review, and other places. Her theatre pieces have been performed by The Luvvies (Scotland), Citadel Art Group (Scotland) and at the University of Auckland (New Zealand).

You can check out some of her music, theatre and writing projects at: www.charlottemariechadwick.com

3 thoughts on “Self-Portrait at 18 and Deep Light

  1. Intriguing poetry. Thematically, a little terse, likely due to the lack of aging. I like where it’s going, and you should check out some of the American Modernists for further inspiration! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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