People in glass houses

A woman couldn’t make up her mind
what character she wanted to be in her story.

One moment she wanted to be kind and good
the next she wanted to be distant and thoughtless
unable to see or hear anything clearly.

If she couldn’t see clearly she could not be accused of noticing.
If she couldn’t hear then she had no need to defend against offence.

She lived inside a glass
at the bottom of the inside of a glass
that was smooth and waiting to be filled.

In some lights she could see her reflection
and this made her unhappy
but mostly she looked at the world
through a thick prismatic window
smiled at everyone’s perfection
as her eyes only saw through glass
with a more favorable angle of incidence
when light was diffuse and angled
to daylight the back of her mind.

Only the rim separated her
from everything outside
but she would not reach to pull herself up.
Consequently she was always in danger of drowning.

She kept a stone in her pocket
in case the moment came
to bear her dark corners
knowing any bid to free herself
would never work.



Susanne Lansman is a practice based PhD student at Royal Holloway researching how trauma is enacted in poetry and works in mental health. Her poetry has appeared in The Rialto, The Interpreters house, and is forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review and Vaine. Her work was long-listed for the Juritz Prize in 2019 and for the 2018/2019 Rialto Pamphlet Competition.