poetry by rosie allabarton

go home

these poems are featured in "water soup #3"


Your birthday came early;

shoots and leaves

from the trees in the yard,


on the glass

when we woke.


Too drunk to fuck

you watched with half-moon eyes

sly from wine when I tried;

the gentle thrum of cartoons through the wall

a sad serenade.


By late afternoon

a storm churned outside,

dark clouds burst;

the moon

a wink on the horizon.

You cooked eggs

while I slept

the whistle from the kettle


when it came to the boil.

I heard birds

I heard birds

on my return;

shrill bursts through the

stringy silhouettes of trees

branches twisting

as new Spring leaves

reached out in the dark of the early morning.

My footsteps echoed on the pavement

church bells

and soft lights slipped and fell from windows

of shops and flats

while street lamps clicked off

as I passed.

Eyes closed.

The sky hung low

over the park

that was sunk deep in the middle;

a crater in the surface of the earth

filled with grass and other living things

the train tracks gone.

We circled the rim like eagles

heads bowed to the ground

and your hair, blonde now

and soft as goose down

waved; fluffy

in the moon breeze;

your newly browned skin

creasing like paper

rubbed out by the wind.


When you had braces

and couldn't kiss for toffee

or eat it

and your face was so thin

I could feel the skull

under there

all holes;


like the skin of a drum

pulled tight over bone,

the slow movement of your jaw

the steady chew of it

the horse and straw of it

was a small wonder to me then;

and steel and stone rested

on row upon row of pearly whites.


I pretended not to notice the bands

at the sides

the rubber holding us together

a cat's cradle

in your mouth

the kiss itself

in danger of being caught

first one side, then the other.

Or somewhere else.

When I laughed

my throat biscuit-dry

my mouth thigh-wide

your eyes held mine,

smile faded to a line;

straight and strong.

My own teeth, tombstones

wedged single file

in my pretty pink gums.


Made up for two

I intervene

taking blankets to the living room;

that grey area that grows

between us.


My dog bed

is wet through

from hot tea and

we clasp chairs close to our chests

like the children you

categorically don't want

and I do.


We laugh, eyes

on the ground that is temporarily ours;

mine wet, my belly loud

and insincere, chest puffed out

and, catching myself,

I breathe out -

the sound a soft whistle through

gapped teeth. Mine.


On the other side

of the partition door

you Buda, me Pest,

your cough is a bark in the darkness

and later

(ear to wall)

I catch you calling out across the Danube.

I am not a runner

but as I lie on my side

waiting for sleep to come

because nothing else has

for the longest of times

it's like I've been running

I am on the run

and I've been caught mid-stride, mid-leap

one foot tucked under a thigh, arms

outstretched, expectant, in welcome

or for balance

and I try for the longest of times

to remember what it's like

to lie side-by-dangerous-side

and stop all this running.