Outside Visiting Hours


By Alyssiaonline

She bought me a bedside lamp to match the rest of my room. White mesh with tiny plastic crystals. When turned on, the lamp spills an oil slick across the ceiling in ink blot symmetry. I can lie there and stare at the distortions of light for a long time.

There is no clock, so it will always be just a long time.

I can pretend the walls are papered with the ghosts of butterflies. I can pretend the roses will not wilt in their vase.

Alyssia MacAlister lives in Brighton and writes because she knows no other way of life.

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Poetry, Uncategorized

A Poem for Penny

We lie under chestnut trees to feel the crunch
Of red and gold. The leaves’ last sighs pile high
And can’t be teased from messy hair. We fight,
Throw fist-fulls that float off, then launch
From the first branch with squeeze-tight hands. A pair
Of pirate-divers search for forest pearls
In urchin shells: hidden in moss, in fern furled
Tight, stems droopy from the frost. The games and dares
End. Maturity calls from the back door.
I go up the steps with you tucked in my coat
And the flames of a sunk-sun October
Behind us. We can’t return. You can’t go out:
I prop you on the window ledge so you can see
The squirrels play under the chestnut trees.
Poetry, Uncategorized

A Sunny Morning

When we are alone, I take his skin between thumb and forefinger, hold and let go. He does not notice. The peak remains, like a wrinkle in bed sheets.

In the next room he lies swamped by the duvet. His steady eyes set in a quivering head, stare out the doorway. My mum and brother are on either side of him, and they’re having a hushed discussion without saying the word. 

In silence, he is carried out to the car. Those of us who remain stand on the pavement as they pull away. We do not wave goodbye.

I blink into cupped hands of water to dissolve salt deposits around my eyes, then rub with a towel and think ‘is this the moment… 

is this the moment…?’ where my brother supports the little, hollow body in his cupped hands, so a proper vein can be found. 

The little, hollow body is all that remains, and we continue.