Lady Macbeth does retail therapy
I fill limitless yellow voids inside me
with teddy coats leather boots
and names I can’t really pronounce
The ground may give way at any time under me
and I may slide into a different being
Does anyone know I crush a thousand almonds
with my ribcage
Does anyone know I swallow blutack
until my body forcibly contorts into joy
OUT DAMNED SPOT OUT I SAY
I yell in the middle of pavements
roaming in nothing but a Burberry trench coat
hoping someone will take notice and love me
hoping they will etch my name into their glovebox
as I the beautiful tragic hero
smile and sit prettily on a moon-shaped
bed littered with crow corpses
but first I must spend money on pastries
swallow my intensity and scratch my head
pretending to not know what savings are
I CAME HERE AGAIN TO FIND MYSELF
you question Tyne about husbands and childbearing
you drink assam tea with jellied pudding
you watch a horror movie all alone
you’re still lonely on a bench outside the Gala
trees smile at you from behind the cathedral
your nose runs underneath charcoal clouds
the old white women here regard you as entity and curse
you think about death, decaying under Old Elvet,
a body covered in algae and Northern dewdrops—
your mother calls with a voice that reminds you of living
so you do, inside a 3-day duvet and a 2-day binge
and a 1-day mental breakdown before the train back home
a hyena starts coming into my room in the night
i make him shakshuka for breakfast and he scoffs it all down, licking his canines, smacking
he introduces me to his family’s rituals, like burning deer antlers and dancing in hexagons around a stereo. he shows me how to cut into the hardness of banyan tree barks. we theorise how one can actually keep one’s enemies closer.
the hyena soon proposes to me with an emerald carcass. i accept with a howl. the stars realign with joy while the moon sighs in shame.
he comes back with a different prey every evening for dinner. i read him Yeats afterwards. we don’t talk about children.
one day, i tell him that i want to die. he turns around and fixes me with a gaze that reminds me of guns held to temples. You’re not invaluable enough to die.
he strokes my back with his gunmetal tail and grazes my forehead with his leathery tongue. i press the back of my hand against his chest and ribs, feeling for something that isn’t there.
Sidrah Zubair is a poet and teacher from London. Her poems have appeared or are
forthcoming in bath magg, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, Atrium, Ink Sweat
& Tears and Poetry Wales.