The Night You Escaped

You hold this, I’ll tape it up. Now swap.

Two of us cannot pull hard enough and you’re slippery,
Jolting out of our grasp and squirting until we’re making it worse
And we settle for face wipes and parcel tape and curling ribbon.

You look like a post-op plastic doll.
You look like a butcher’s haircut.

We lie down on a carpet of playing cards and Pop-Tarts,
Cornetto wrappers, teacup ashtrays
Put on that kind of late-night-taxi-to-the-hospital music
Where it’s raining and the lights are all orange and
You’re wearing your hood up, or gloves, or holding hands.
Quiet music, because my parents are asleep
And serious, because you’ve been gone three months.

While you were away I kept warm for you
Your on-off boyfriend and he loves you more now
Than ever. I know because he says. And I say because I know
You’d want to know. Your teeth look wet in the dark
And I’m excited. Take my second shit in half an hour while you roll.

He has two blisters on his lips,
White in the morning like dry spit bubbles,
Black eye make-up on his jawline. Well, he did this morning,
I tell you. But honestly I haven’t heard from him since.
Two small blisters on his bottom lip.

I’m scabby at the moment, and picking,
And organising into piles by body part dry pieces of feet
And wet pieces of wrists and white silk pieces of lip and earlobe.

We all missed you.
I pull you into my bed and balance the ashtray on my knee
And put slick pieces of your hair in my mouth
And with your middle finger in my belly button
It’s a bit like the old days, but more sore.

Rosie Jean Reynolds studied Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham in the UK, and guest lectured there on the Creative Writing MA and English Literature BA. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Stand, Magma, Under the Radar, The Cadaverine and SALT. She is currently working on her first collection. She blogs at

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