The Survivalist’s Guide to Love

The personals sounded survivalist, after. We were still searching, but we offered love like an island someone may wind up stranded on.

I have fish fingers, but no bread…There are eggs in my fridge I’ve painted with fangs…I don’t know if I’m a good lover, but I can make a church pew into a bed, and a bed into a wilderness.

It was so long since we touched, we quivered into the world. Our selfies faded to dots, all we had were snaps of useful hands.

Here is a picture of a kitten I sewed…This is my loaf, it’s not pretty but it rose… OK, I can’t paint, but I know how to describe a beach so blue someone could hear waves…The butterfly here needed sugar, I carried it a mile in my palms.

It felt deafening to big our self-up like we used to. We had seen just how small we are. We owned little and carried bouquets of our flaws.

I can’t swim, but I can hold my breath under water…Seahorses make me sad, ever since I read they’re the ghosts of drowned foals …I have a guitar I keep leant against the wall, it hums to my footsteps. This is all I can play.

It was a struggle to slip off our distance, the long days alone gripped us in their arms. Late at night, we flashed naked messages, kept sending our flickering SOS.

I won’t kiss you, but I can tell you how it feels. Looking at a sunset without a phone, slipping on a red dress with a rip, catching the sparrow that flew into your house, taking it outside and holding your breath.



Angela Readman writes poetry and short stories. In 2019, And Other Stories published her first novel Something like Breathing. Her poetry collection The Book of Tides is published by Nine Arches.