Heart of litter

A shard of glass wedges into my skin

like a last goodbye:


the words slice like tin can lids

but rust twice as slow


and though I’ve air-lifted each last

broken neck of bottle


still bleeding

and bubbling

its guts to the ground,


I cling on

like chewing gum

stuck to the cracked teeth

of this town.


It’s 5am.

The dawn shakes out the dew.


I shake out a slim black liner

and sweep up my excuses;


blackhole the butt ends

still busking their smoke

into the cracks

of the pavement;


the bus tickets

basking in the streetlight,

gulping at its glow

until black ink


to grey;


the crumpled caress

of a brown paper bag

still cradling the crumbs

that remain.


It’s 6am.

The rain pinches the pavement

and the last of my dreams.


I steal a glimpse at a puddle

cosying up to the bin,


kissing away the rust

that rims its tired lips

and remember


that I used to be like this.


It’s 7am.

The puddle yawns into the soil

and so I yawn too,

body from bone.


I see myself trapped

inside its glassy stare –


sifting through

lashes of leaves

I scratch the silt

and slugs

from the windowpane,


searching for something to cling onto

in this moon of water.


It’s 8am.

I quit.


The words snag in my throat

like carrier bags

caught on a branch


widowed by the wind

not knowing which way to turn.


I can’t quit.


I’d sooner tin my heart in brine

or the grime of this gutter


than wallow empty-handed

as the womb

of a crisp-packet wrapper


still sucking the salty cry

from its walls.

unpublished poem, © Jade Cuttle 2019, used by permission of the author.

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