The clock

Beats time on the wall, one, two, three hours that I’ve been lying on my back,

My side, my front. Sleep, sleep.

Tap out the time in lines on my white walls. Sleep, sleep, sleep.

Lights on, lights off. Count the bruises on my legs. One, two, three

Purple stains on my calf, my thigh. Sleep, sleep.

White walls, my clock

Taps out time. One, two, three clicks mark another wasted night, another neon light.

Sleep, sleep.

My lighter sparks, one, two, three glimpses

Of my face in the mirror, striated, dilapidated, my mother’s eyes–

Sleep, sleep.


Louise Knight, Scotland


I’m an old hand at this, boy–

You shouldn’t even try.

Go on, hold me up, talk to me, rock me as I sob and retch.

I’ll go on.

I won’t eat, I’ll kiss your friends, I’ll deaden every word you said,

I’ll move back home,

I’ll cut my hair,

I’ll take all you say as read,

I won’t pay rent.

Then return, spent.

And lie in bed,

And ask for bread,

With tea.

I’m an old hand at this, boy.


Louise Knight, Scotland