Rachel Belward — I Hope You’re Ok


I Hope You’re Ok

The night here is not black, but a washed-out blue.
Awake, he waits.

The city is switching gears.

The froth of blossom.
Bubbles gathering around a plughole as the water runs out of a bathtub.

We longingly press our hands against gasp-clouded glass.
Collectively horrified.
Splintered in so many solitudes.
The smears of breath, lips, cheeks.
All carefully wiped away.

Our handprints are scattered petals, unfurling leaves.
The plumes of a bird in flight.

The sun beats onto abandoned pavements.
The windows of other blocks wink at us.

She types “how to pray properly” into the search bar.
Stares at her own hands.

She is so tired of seeing their faces on screens big and small.
It makes their absence harder to swallow.
Tears saved up, bitter on the tongue.

He’s not sure he can bear yet another so-late-it’s-early awakening.
Another bruise-coloured sunrise witnessed alone.

The air smells so different.

We take our daily walk into the memory fog.
It isn’t always safe here.
But it is where we can regroup.

Shadows move and shrug.
We grasp at them, and long for them, and fear them.

And we wait.

Rachel Belward works for a mental health charity. She lives in London, reads a lot, and documents this on Instagram here.

  • This poem was submitted in response to the first ekphrastic challenge (Melting Away, by Sadaf Sawlath).

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