She looks at me with that
fearsome oil-sheen in her
eyes, the weighty conviction
of milk-heavy gaze and breasts,
telling me (the spittle-flecked words
like Words made flesh) of her
Father, how he is unseen, felt
unstirring in the Godless air.
She is seized with her preaching
like a fist about the neck,
the knocks and blows of the world,
wonderfully inflated with FATHER.
I wish to tell her of my own faith,
of my own father who, like hers,
is a lack, a hole, an unfleshed thing,
something I must believe in, remember.
But there is a Rule — we do not talk
to street-preaching loon-women, dear.
We do not look in their
shockingly flammable eyes, their eyes
like cheap synthetic cloth that’s ripe for burning.



Zelda Cahill-Patten is a twenty-year-old university student from London. She is studying English Literature and has recently been awarded the Lord Alfred Douglas Memorial Prize for her sonnet ‘Pelias’.