Poems: Rosa Campbell

Illo for Rosa Campbell's poems.

Save Yr Breath

I met someone else. Name full of the vowels
we tactfully removed, held in our own mouths,
saved up all day to breathe out, warm and soft,
once shielded by the iron of your bedframe. She

spoke only that way, generous with her air, hot
on the back of my neck in the morning, tea-mist
in the chilled kitchen. A cloud of it hovered
on my doorstep after she kissed me goodbye. I

gasped it in, caught fast in my lungs, and held it
across the Forth Rail Bridge, so full of sounds
I thought I might burst, scattering the unsent
letters like a faulty Night Mail that scarcely

made it to Scotland. But I saved every syllable
for you. Finally breathed out in daylight, let
my tongue slip, lips open after so much silence,
singing the sibilant power of your name.

I Haven’t Written a Poem in Two Months and This One Is Not Worth It

the world ends and you
will finish your pint, walk home
in the dark where your anger will blister
against the unjust reality
of impassive sky,
against stars, against ten people
sat in a room, knocking over monuments
you have waited years to see.

things shatter and you
will remember to neatly fold the towel
that has pressed the salt out of you
in gasps, you will remember
to put the cooling soup in the fridge,
to think about doing laundry,
to set an alarm because
there will still be mornings.

it’s not the apocalypse and you
will find yourself in Tesco four days later
staring at eighteen types of handsoap
(the broken basket plastic
digging into the crook of your elbow)
thinking “none of this matters”
but you pick the lemon one and walk home
against it all.
Rosa Campbell is a PhD candidate at the University of St Andrews and the Associate Editor at Valley Press, although in reality she spends most of her time pointing out nice dogs. Her poetry has previously been published in Haverthorn, Icarus, JoLT and The Oxonian Review, was longlisted in the 2015 Plough Prize, and is forthcoming in Dead King Magazine. She is currently slouching towards a first collection, and can be found on Twitter as @rosaetc.

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