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Lily Holloway

commuting with angela



last night i walked            her dog                    boots scuffing concrete solitude
glistening in puddles                   pissing on laingholm poles

she is scared of slugs                    those grey spotted tongues
                    inching under porchlight
           towards her door              invasion       moving morning perspiration

hold her thigh          —not hard or that’s charlie’s horse
i’m driving                but slips hand into yours
           two fingers
           circle your pulse                              to the backstreet boys

           self-acceptance is
frida on her back                         staring mirror ceilings                     strokes
skinny west auckland signs
                                                                       Brocco
                                                                       li
it is what it is
she says, slugs pop like blisters     rat lungworm burst forth            confetti larvae

           and we cannot survive it


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This poem was the 2019 winner of Best Poem in the Given Words National Poetry Day Competition. All the entries had to contain the words: solitude, pulse, moving, circles and self-acceptance.

Judges’ comments:

“the poem that stood out for us is commuting with angela, which hooked us emotionally us with its visual presentation echoing the creatures, ‘those grey spotted tongues’, that frame the narrative, along with the multiple details and references that add a sense of place and time, and link the personal and the universal”

The poem has also been translated into Spanish for Palabras Prestadas.


Republished by Lily on 04 May 2020.