Dedicated to Elisabeth Schiller-Campbell.



Now I’m holding a bundle of flickering string

It falls; unravelling

I try to gather it up but it keeps unwinding

splitting apart

each new string spiralling in a new direction

all rolling of their own volition

sometimes overlapping, knotting, twisting together

then tugging apart. Undone

sometimes they just end

and hang suspended

I try following one but get lost

in the endless tangle

of brown yellow blue green red orange black pink purple

piercing my skin

the strings scramble up my veins

pool in my heart

and tangle in my brain.




Now I see:


My great-grandfather trimming rose-bushes

My grandmother milking cows at dawn

My father walking to school

My mother leaving home




I try to sift through the memories

Was it when I first said ‘no’ to an offer of ice-cream?

The imperceptible smile when

The numbers on the scale started to slip?

Snapshots drip into my mind

They gather in my brain like sand

Pooling at the bottom of an hourglass

Was it the chubby cheeks I so detested as a child?

Each obscuring the other

Or the warning words: ‘once you stop growing

You’ll have to eat less’?

Together they form a whole

Or was it the fact I’m more like my mother than I’d ever imagined?




Individual memories create a mosaic

each one a puzzle piece linked to the next

growing to build a cathedral

a dome encircling me

drawing closer and closer to the ground beneath my feet

I look up and see a glimpse of my birth

my eyes trail down past

my first clumsy steps

my pimpling face

my packed bags

the bottom edges flicker and waver

my past exams

the breakfast I just had

me: sitting at a desk, writing.

[Kirsty Campbell]


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: