Cheryl Pearson’s poem brings us to that terrifying precipice – that utter fear, that overwhelming sensation that something is going to happen to the person/people most important to us, most crucial to our very survival. There is an air of agoraphobia, of being unable to brave the cruel outside in the line ‘I don’t want to be left back. I hold the curtain, fog the glass.’ You really do leave it with the sensation that although we cannot control the horrors in our minds, her ‘invocation’ is curling its way. – Jane Burn, guest editor
Protection Spell For A Lover
You take out the car on a wet night,
and my mind runs wild. Drunks. Black ice.
A body in ribbons at the side of the road. I tell you,
Be careful. What I mean is, I love you,
don’t leave. I want you warm and complaining.
The grout between the bathroom tiles is chipping;
the damp in the kitchen has wrecked the salt. I list
each means of your unmaking, and so the dog
is muzzled, leaves you breathing. No sharp turn
on two wheels. No error in guiding the articulated truck.
I give you cancer, rupture your appendix. I make you
allergic to bees. There have been close calls:
I count them like rosary beads, thumb our luck.
The time we aqua-planed on a sheet of light. The time
the bite of your clutch failed in the Peaks. Love
outlives the lover, yes, but I don’t want to be
left back. I hold the curtain, fog the glass. With
stroke. With motorbike. With heart attack.
(previously published in The Interpreters House, March 2018)
Cheryl Pearson is the author of Oysterlight (Pindrop Press). Her poems have appeared in publications including The Guardian, Mslexia, Under the Radar, and Poetry NorthWest, and she has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has won or placed in competitions including the Cheshire Prize, the Hippocrates Prize, the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize, the Keats Shelley Prize, and the Costa Short Story Award. Her second collection, Menagerie, is forthcoming from The Emma Press in 2020.