Sacha Black’s writing prompt was one of the stop-watch kinds that I can’t do. Maybe it comes from the phobia of exams that still grips me sometimes in nightmares. I could stare at an exam question until time was almost up before rounding up the thoughts that were fluttering around in panic. I know Sacha isn’t going to come round to our house with a baseball bat and beat the snot out of me for going over the time limit, but it takes me more than the time limit to even start.
Her latest order/suggestion was to write for 120 seconds on the theme—Armour. In two minutes I actually got a few words down, a sort of micropoem. But the germ was there and I’ve since had another go at it.
what I strap around
the soft, tender places
to stop the barbs of pain,
and a cage for my heart
to stop me reaching out
with misplaced forgiveness.
I knew you’d call, and part of me, the tender, wounded, cut-to-shreds part that still bleeds tears of bright memories, longed for it. Another part, the sensible part said: stop your ears to the siren call, and shout your anger and your pain, drown out the mellifluous effusions of sorrow and regret because they are lies, bare-faced and hollow.
The phone rings.
I pick up.
Your voice, deep, warm and hesitant.
The day, the bird singing, the warm light falling in dapples on my hand, all dissolve in a soft muddled haze.
Is there any armour proof against the hope of love?