Poetry Trace

Last Night

Red-wine breath and tear-stained cheeks. The events of a night are left behind as morning breaks but the impression remains, in Maddy Barnes' poem – our opening piece for TRACE.

by Madeleine Accalia

Last night you pushed your way into my blanketed cave with a candle and eyes full of something we were scared to acknowledge.
You were stressed about bills.
You climbed into my nest, naked in a tracksuit, red wine on your breath with truth spilling from your corners like a terrible sieve.
You needed this.
We giggle at your fuzzy, flickering image
‘You’d think we were in a Jane Austen film, fucking candles’
You laugh
Shoulders slumping, contracting,
Tiny and massive all at once

We cried in that moment
Grins to streaked cheeks
As you talked of your invisibility, your secrecy, you’re a stranger in your home and a shell and a ghost and I know I know
‘I know’ I say. As if that changes a thing
You sink into yourself like a deflating balloon; the moonlight tries to comfort your skin, holds on to it

It’s the red wine speaking but I don’t doubt it for a minute
We untangled all of our limited days in those seconds
Time dripping of our chins, into our laps, we devoured it
The walls are thin, the curtains are bloated, we’ve made it, we haven’t, we are drinking half to half measures pretending like it’s nothing, like it’s something, like we’re something.

We lie there.
Breathe into the moments that dot to dot themselves into This
Bend into each other like trees in storms, laughing until the sun shrivels into dawn
It’s the first time anyone’s been in here and though you’re the instigator you are a life jacket

We paint the ceiling with the words we are too scared to think in the day, softened by the blanket of the purple sky.
We are both strangers in this house, but in this moment, we own it.
The rent is cheaper than the conversation that the wallpaper peels in to listen to as we whisper our secrets into the thin air that won’t hold us without payment
And it’s sunrise
And now, a memory


Madeleine Accalia

Madeleine is a Scriptwriting and Performance student and current member of the Roundhouse Poetry Collective 17–18. Recently her play ‘threadbare’ was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and her latest play ‘White Girls’ will be performed at the Brighton Fringe 2018. She mainly writes about feminism and politics and her favourite style is a funky merge of heavy topics with comedic formats. She is also a big fan of peanut butter.

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