Little boy dream 

My brother used to burn ants with a magnifying glass.
I blamed the sun for tempting his half-talking, grazed
knees to kneel on hot tarmac. He’d run his
pink-licked fingers through the slab’s trenches, collecting
worm eggs beneath thumbnails.
Once they were out and open,
a four-year-old angles the sun.

On hot days like this, his thin skin would
glaze like baked egg-wash. Big hands to bathe scabbed knees
in holy water, and he’d dream that the ants’ bodies
were washed back to trenches by mourning.


Celestine Stilwell (he/they) is a transgender poet and visual artist based in Durham, who has previously won the Langaland Spoken Word Competition 2019, and the John Gurney Creative Writing Award 2019.