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Her secret











There’s something I have to tell you

She said

Leaning forward

Her tone shifting

Eyes widening


We had been talking about the summer

Just before

The food we ate

The empty days

The endless walking


The corn field where we lost the dog

(He turned up at the pub

Covered in burrs)

The one by the sea

Where we felt invincible


And the one when it rained

And I fell into the mud

Reaching for the stile

Muddy

Glistening


I was still in the memory of that

Feeling the stickiness of the mud

The warmth of the wood

The joyful absurdity

When the air crackled with those words


There’s something I have to tell you


If I was more dramatic

The clocks would have stopped at that moment

A bird would have flown into the window

A crow or a raven

Squawking a warning


But as it was

I simply said, what’s that?

It’s a thing I do

Perform like a circus seal

Throwing out the words that people want to hear


When what I actually want to say is

Keep it to yourself

But it remains stuck inside

Like a song you wake up to

And hum mindlessly all day


She continued

You can’t tell anyone

Hissing the words quietly

Her eyes shining

So persistent


My gin was warm

All the ice had melted

Fingerprints on the glass

A taste on my tongue

Of what was to come


And then out they came

Her words

Disrupting the air

Filling me with sadness

Filling me with knowledge that can no longer be undone


I don’t like secrets

The weight of them

Like smooth pebbles

They sit inside and pull me down

All that responsibility


And the request not to tell

Is suffocating

It makes me want to tell everyone

So that I alone

Do not have ownership


They live in my stomach

Those dark heavy pebbles

Until my body cannot hold them

Until out they come

In a spiraling betrayal


I lean forwards

Eyes widening

Tone shifting

As I say to a friend

There’s something I have to tell you


And even when she blanches

Pulls herself from the mud

Grips onto the wooden stile

In futile desperation

Still I share

















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