Your spaces silently narrow –
slowly clogging arteries, plaque
formed out of photographs,
boxes stacked and shelves
furred up, records, CDs, DVDs.
Kitchen stuffed with cookery
books, spiralisers, coffee machines
and avocado-half-holders;
although you only eat
shop-bought sandwiches.

You just-in-case curator
of paperclip collections, plastic
bags in plastic bags, kooky
cat-themed accessories,
shrewd car boot sale bargains,
teaspoon souvenirs, steaming
pot plant jungles and perfume
bottles just for show;
although nobody visits you now.

Your screams of anguish
smothered, by piles of tea towels,
never used, sheepskin rugs
and blankets, new clothes
with the tags still on, threadbare
vintage jackets, jazzy earrings
sifting dust, designer trainers
for that trendy hip hop look;
although you don’t go out these days.

You stent the walls with vague talk
of sorting out and getting rid
but you are crushed beneath it all,
your breathing becomes agonal.
Only the stuff of life remains,
like fat congealed inside a vein
or papier-mâché around a balloon;
left behind for us to pick through.



Sonia Burns is a poet, performer, community worker and workshop facilitator currently based in the East Midlands. Her first poetry chapbook, Umbra:philia, was published in November 2021 by the Derbyshire based Bearded Badger Publishing Company.