Surprise by Mariam Varsimashvili

(illustrations and animation created by Sleep Never Comes To Me)

Open the rock. There, by the river where a streak of blood
is so thin it cannot be alarming.
Split the rock in half and you will find cooked ham,
bubbling white fat and a small piece of me.
There, by your milky feet are certain roads I know by heart.
Here, we like to pretend the Oaktree smelling of mint
is not in disguise. We know our bones are pins
that support the whole sky. It does not phase us.
There, in the objects left behind by a flood
you will find a cone full of things that will help you sneeze
and break the dream. You could climb down the Devilโ€™s hat
and understand; we are in a red drainage, singing.
Here, when footsteps creep away, the heart liquifies
and the ground gives up some solidity to help you grieve.
There, at the back of the bush, is existence pierced
by a vigorous chant – and we never look.


Mariam Varsimashvili is a twenty-four-year-old, bi-lingual poet recently graduated from Goldsmiths University. She is based in East London, where she works as a Teaching Assistant. Her work has previously been published by Happy London Press, Reflex Fiction and Dempsey & Windle Press. You can find more of her visual poems on her Instagram @clouddead_ and Twitter @mariam_morrison.

Sleep Never Comes To Me is an illustration and animation project created by Holly Chant during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Holly is the lead singer of the band Xylaroo and works as a local news journalist for the Hackney Gazette. Her drawings and collaborations can be viewed on Instagram @sleepnevercomestome and @illuwords.