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  • Molly Herbert


Updated: Sep 11, 2022

in basement chatter, an inebriated daze,

i feel the pangs of her kicking inside.

i tell me she’s dead.

i killed her.

suppressed her.

swatted out a miracle.

snuffed out the light in my eyes on the way back home

from disco lights. clutching keys and

pretending to call my best friend

when mine was asleep

and i only wish

to cry about


better than being with You.

i’ll convince myself this fear is better than being

with You. kissing you. grasping you.

letting the bitterness run

down my tongue like



warm whiskey chasing away the cold with

the blue plaid shirt motions that is

You: a lifeguard at sea who once

took my hand into his own

and then dropped it

and drove on

and left me simmering, stranded, in that second-hand smoke.

i took two trains to falkirk just to keep me afloat.

shifting platform to platform through that two week wait.

weighing up abortion,

letting tears scar my face. flash to

two cocktail nights to forget what you’d done,

a pub crawl, a PCR, another ellaOne,

a night of surrender, a lamp-lighten kiss,

a tender hug before the hunger —

quick relief I know I’d miss.

the taste of you is a drug that kills to keep.

brain fog, daisy dresses.

august storms

chase summer’s heat.

for you to be here, now october,

beer embroidered in your sleeves.

i’m waiting, high on codeine under sheets

you bought for me,

my white ones,

late July,

were bloodied.

but it’s pneumonia season now and

time is spinning faster - a god complex held

to my skull. love once golden

gushes out.

i tell me she’s dead.

i killed her,

suppressed her,

swatted out a miracle

but she trickles down the back of my arms,

chokes me with that swallowed back ‘i love you’

and every call never made and every kiss never given

but you’ll only see my body sinking deeper into your chest.

i wonder if the blue in your jumper knows that i’m dead.

i blink twice and carry on.

november stares into the sun.

the anesthetic never lingers like this memory does.

i learned to love the rush of the tide

now im tipsy by 12, snogging under fairy lights,

microdosing pure hell. six pages of a4 and

two cds in, you told me you loved me

and i snuck right back in.

I’ll let her words out this time,

but it’d kill us to forget

the four months of dying

binding you to my bed.

I’ll scrub the blood from your t-shirt

and sniff back in the lie,

that the girl catching golden leaves

wasn’t destined to die.

Everybody told me

it was safer to run

but you stop feeling pain

when you’re next to the Sun.

Autumn swallows daylight.

Time hurtles by.

It’s been a full year of waiting

since I begged to the sky.

Was it worth it?

Will we happen?

Will I stop chasing hope?

I keep trying to destroy us

but they're trapped in my throat:

the bullets, poison tablets

so they keep killing Me.

They’ll discover what we’re up to

and it’ll bid me to leave

this bunker of a love affair.

And I’ll untie the knot -

the tourniquet I’ve fashioned from this emotional bond.

I’ll stumble breathlessly into open air and weep amongst the trees

I’ll soak in a tired sunset,

climb a mountain just to scream.

Blood will rush into my forearm

because my heart was never dead.

Birds will sing (I’ll count the magpies).

Winds will whistle through my head.

Our story is tragedy (and I’ll linger like a ghost)

but it is the perfect ending

when the woman finally knows

that her heart deserves far better than a rat or a leech

or a man with the audacity

to paint a future

and then leave.

This poem’s a couple rhymes too long

but nothing’s left unsaid

when the girl catching golden leaves

finally sees the red.

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