At a Push | by Annabel Mahoney

I am consciously aware that we are spending
our two week anniversary in a disabled toilet
on the BHS floor.
And while part of me says I should love him,
part of me just isn’t sure.
And if I put my head over his chestpiece,
I can even hear his heart.
Why would you push foul blood around this body and to this brain that is convinced
I’m more ready than I am?
Is it that heart flow, or cerebrospinal junction, or the tiny, snapping synapse-sized jolts of electricity passing through those cloudy hormonal nerves at the rate of thousand a second or some unchangeable, indestructible essence of Him that gives him this conceived edge of almost-desire? If I found I could kill it with a single blow? Or would he snuff it out himself when those words leave my lips.
The thing is that I know what to do.
I’ve been taught and told and instructed what’s right. I just never thought it would be so hard before. And all they can relate to is look,
because that’s all that’s important to him.
And I know that my exception will be the same, but for the moment just let me kid myself. I’d never want to hurt him. I should have listened at the start. I don’t want this to end, I just wish it had never begun at all. Talk to me. Really, really talk to me, like I’d do for you.
Open your eyes and cry to God. Rid me of the sin of pride. I want you to be mine, but I don’t want to have you. I am selfish. Please, please cleanse me and fill me with the spirit of bliss and not caring. I don’t want to break his heart, but I never want him to get over me.
He is not the same the world over. Because I am not. And we are so far away.
                                                                                                                                                  (aged 16)



Annabel Mahoney is an ex-national award winning poet who was once shortlisted as one of the ten best writers under eighteen in the UK and gained acclaim from names such as Imtiaz Dharker and Patrick Ness. She gradually fell out of touch with creative writing and went on to study History at King’s College and the University of Oxford, from which she graduated and almost immediately had a breakdown. As part of her recovery process, she started gathering up old poems written as a teenager, dealing with sexual assault, and an undergraduate, processing a close friend’s suicide, to work through her emotional state. These poems symbolise both coming to terms with the past and living on in spite of it.

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