My sister’s tattoo
The unicorn isn’t bashful. It appears each time
your sloppy sweater falls off your shoulder, or your t-shirt
is too thin. Its childish lines ripple as you move your arm;
its cerulean body has no diffidence. Cheerful and over the top,
it’s the thing people notice but you forget. It suits you.
Painting the study
Let me lay here for a while,
dust sheets rushed in wormcasts at my toes.
I’m floating on a sea, adrift on waves of night-blue clouds.
Beyond, cars surge and ebb, the wax and wane of other lives.
But let me crowd-surf gentle fingers of thought, remembering.
Painting the study 2
Twisting a room from that to this.
Capturing a dream that slithers off, that won’t be caught –
replaced by other wraiths – fire-red or Chanel grey, sand
or cloud or dusk or sunset pink or cyclamon.
Promises that won’t be pinned to the plaster.
You are the edges I struggle with,
the crusted hasps of a sea-chest half-buried in silt.
You are the winter sky that hides itself in cloud-fur,
the loops whose slots elude –
tongue pressed into the wrong groove.
Louise Wilford lives in Yorkshire, UK. Her work has been widely published, most recently in Bandit, English Review, Goats’ Milk, Jaden, Makarelle, New Verse News, POTB, The Fieldstone Review, River and South and Parakeet. In 2020, she won the Arts Quarterly Short Story Prize, the Merefest poetry Prize, and was awarded a Masters in Creative Writing (Distinction). She is working on a children’s fantasy novel.