Self-Portrait With Sylvie – Kitty Coles

Self-Portrait With Sylvie

Your yellow eyes grow
and shrink with the tides of the moon,
expand like onions, bulbous globes of light.
You press your spine
against my thigh so closely
our bodies seem to fuse, blur
at the edges, and your fierce heat
infects my worm-white flesh.
You hold my hand
in your arms, against your belly,
and you are supple like the lushest velvet.

I can’t get up today.
The pain is spreading
behind my eyes like mould,
malignant bloom.
My clothes are fumy with sweat,
the odours of cooking onions
and rank cumin.
My face melts in the mirror,
drips like tallow,
streams down my bones, greyly, unstoppably.
Only your palms, like petals, keep me whole.


Kitty Coles lives in Surrey. Her poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. She was joint winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016 and her debut pamphlet, Seal Wife, was published in 2017.

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