The Easy Slide

By Grace Royal

I spent a long time stuck between these four

sea coloured walls, just me, myself and I,

desperately trying to clutch my head together,

desperately trying to keep myself whole –

and then failing and falling into shattered glass –

all shards, all sharpness, all ground up fragments

of a person that stuck into palms and feet.


I made an escape – in part – saw fresh walls

for a change, tried to learn to breathe again,

to eat again, to exist again, but now I’m back

in the room and the glass is still scattered

across every surface, waiting to ensnare me,

cut me, trip me; waiting to send me skidding back

to the very start – stuck between four sea coloured walls.


I’ve tried to sweep up the mess; I’ve tried wearing shoes,

but it’s hard – too hard – to save myself when my mind is riving,

turning, twisting – beating in this dusting of déjà vu.

Mine is a panting mind, unable to keep still

and my whole body is shaking, swirling and skidding.


Anxiety itches constantly at the back of my throat;

it jabs at my legs, scratches at my feet. It reaches

down inside my stomach. It undoes any good work.


I try to draw clouds with rainbow linings,

I try to believe in colour and raindrops in hopeful hues.

I try to commit and fit jigsaw pieces back together,

I try mending and  togethering, but in this distant sea coloured room,

hope goes sliding and I find myself wiping sick from the floor.


Today and tomorrow are just about reliving my slipping,

a discomforting layer of repetition, an erasure

of this three month obstacle course I have been on.

All the climbing, the crawling, the running, the hauling –

I thought I was a quarter of the way there, but now –

now I’ve found myself needing to restart.


So I shake and I scratch and I feel a selfishness deep within.

I punch walls, nurse fingers and feel guilty.


Here I am, after all, worrying myself over slices of pear,

the size of yoghurt pots and toddler size portions – here I am

and there are people dying, struggling out in the real.

I am so miniscule, so tiny, and still here I am,

scraping skin off my arms at the thought of a lunch

that many may be missing.


I hate myself and my body and I can’t seem to hold it together:

all my pieces have smashed and slid too far apart.

I slip and repeat and I fall and I fail.

I stick rainbows in my windows and try to be good.

I try to see clouds with rainbow linings and then

I look down at the glass and all falls apart.


Grace Royal is a recent university graduate who writes both poetry and prose. Her work explores eating disorders, mental health, lesbian identity, the small details of life and the impact of social media. When she isn’t writing, she can be found reading or looking after her eight guinea pigs.

This poem is a part of the DISTANCED project.

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