Susan Darlington’s poetry regularly explores the female experience through nature-based symbolism and stories of transformation. It has been published in Fragmented Voices, Algebra Of Owls, Dreams Walking, and Anti-Heroin Chic among others. Her debut collection, ‘Under The Devil’s Moon’, was published by Penniless Press Publications (2015). Follow her @S_sanDarlington
Dressed in orange and brown, we hid in autumn woods and were never seen again. We called out to our parents when they beat the path for clues but our voices went unheard. Now we run and shake trees until leaves tumble with laughter, skip with the dying rays of sun.
I wasn’t sure when he told me over first date dinner that he wanted a family, spooning cherry ice-cream from a bowl as he spoke. I still wasn’t sure when he showed me photos of his two nephews, all downy cheeks and whippet limbs, with almost fatherly pride. I wasn’t sure. But I let him walk me home. And when the condom split - lying on the bed with semen dribbling down the inside of my thighs while he pulled on his T-shirt and prepared to leave - I thought - but even then I couldn’t be sure - I thought it was a sign that this was my last chance to have a child.
If the moss peeled itself off the stone wall - hundreds of eyelets unhooking from the surface - it would fall into a velvet evening dress that would swish past the beds of fern and the ivy cross-stitching twigs to birch trees. It would glide over the mud that runs smooth at the edge of the falls and pause to listen to the wind as it conducts the rustle of leaves and the brook’s crystal-cut spray; to watch butterflies dance over blankets of wild garlic. It’s to the wearer of this dress that you offer a tarnished two-pence piece. Push it into a dry pocket in the wall until your index finger can go no further and promise that one day you’ll return.