By Liz Chadwick Pywell

A grey cloud moves through and 

around me from waking to insomnia,

melting against limbs with snow

and slush that petrifies footfalls.


If Vesuvius hadn’t roared, would the bodies

be so beautiful? Against a backdrop of

innocence and quiet generosity,

horror grows starkly open mouthed.


Now this cloud is ash and water,

icing the surfaces where my tea

is never hot, and muddying the

bottom of the mug.


Sometimes, against a window,

a visible shadow turns and laughs

and the sound is a rumbling in my

coccyx, a puddle at my feet.


Liz Chadwick Pywell (she/her) is a lesbian poet and writer of short stories and flash fiction based in York, North Yorkshire. She is particularly interested in listening to and representing the voices of women who have been ignored or drowned out in history, literature and mythology. Find her on Instagram @chadpie and Twitter @chadpie.

This piece is a part of DISTANCED 3.0.

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