Poetry Jukebox Request Time – Polly Atkin @pollyrowena


The Invisible

‘The secret is to walk evading nothing’, Alice Oswald

Croneshadow stumbles ahead of me         catching
erratic feet on the tarmac        ruched
as it is by roots        her left foot sticking
as if in mud        her stoop cranked up
by the pock-marked skin of the drystone wall
she is thrown on       the angle of light        sickish
orange in the early night.      Her mouth
twitches down at the creases       Bitchy
Resting Face      though you cannot see it
dark on dark.       You could say she exists
in relief       except there is none       not
for a structure like her       misbuilt       collapsing
inward with each jolt forward. I try
to right her.      but she will not straighten. The more
I struggle the more she looks broken. She knows
more of pain than your charts can trace
but you will not acknowledge her hear         her. Her name
is a slur. Her body is carrion. It is
too late for this.
My blood too sticky.
Her edges are blurring.
My legs are unravelling.
Her gown of bones is clacking              clacking.
Will we ever reach home?
I sink in my clothes
till my breath melts the frost on the empty road.
She pushes ahead of me           carries on walking.
Carries on walking.
Carries on walking.

Poetry Jukebox is an on-street audio installation of poetry. This poem, The Invisible by Polly Atkin was included in Song of Myself, poetry by D/deaf and disabled poets. It celebrated the launch of a jukebox which includes features which make it more accessible to disabled people.  We launched in the Belfast International Festival in October 2019 at CS Lewis Square in East Belfast.


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