Bespoke illustration for Amy Knight by her friend and long time collaborator Luke Skinner

Ever since,

I’ve put crumb-covered knives back into tubs of spread,
and left six half-read books down the side of my bed.
(I know I’ll enjoy finding and re-reading them one day
and there’s no room on the shelf anyway.)

I drink gin out of coffee cups

and cheap coffee from a small bowl
which used to be a cup,
(but I dropped it and broke the handle off.
Sometimes I like to use it for nuts.)

I cut wild branches from hedgerows

and stand them in empty bottles
on a windowsill that’s cracked and chipped. …

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

I stared at a deer’s entrails on the asphalt,
pictured my own — about to leave me,
concentrated hard

on the sensation of my fingernails,
sinking deep into the padding of the front seat,
half expecting it to become saturated,
hot flux seeping through the seam
at any moment,
everything — this car, this bad dream, this tightening—
would stop!
but hurry up! at the same time

while my father gripped the wheel
and told me random stories from the 80s
in his lovingly awkward way,
gently rocking me
between decades
through the pain, indignity, dismay
until I couldn’t reply…

Bespoke illustrated created for Amy Knight by her friend and long-time collaborator Luke Skinner

Her root emerged, deliberately. I grazed my hands and cut my knee and bruised my hip. I lay there, underneath the Rosewood, waiting — for strong arms, soft lips; for the breeze through leaves to shhhhhh my pain away.

She whispered, “stay”. And so I knelt between her gnarly feet and pressed my bloody palms into the earth. My fingers reached into the cool, wet mud beneath and all my damaged parts were soothed. I didn’t want to leave.

“Ok” I whispered back, slumped against the trunk, “just for a while.” I shut my eyes and curled up like a…

Bepoke illustration created by the author by friend and collaborator Luke Skinner

I heard the rain had stopped
and left my toast beside the bed.
My feet took me outside;
I ate the sun
to break my fast, instead.
Dawn’s vapour rose to bathe my legs
as I waded through the wheat.
I drank the dew and thought of you;
that I need to eat.

© Amy Knight 2020

Illustrated poems by this author-designer team:

Photo by Rosalind Chang on Unsplash

city grit
wedged deep in grooves of leather shoes. replaced
by sunbleached, waveworn flecks
of white and gold and grey
between bare toes.

dates, times and names
ingrained in tired and
overstimulated brains,

are buried deep
in heaps of sand and shells,
remodelled into castles, played out
in multigenerational games.

the ocean foams and rolls,
licking the calves of little boys
who taunt it
with their spades and voices high.

bottoms are wet but lips dry
from August sun. …

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Back then, when you and I weren’t talking
you took off your sweater
in the middle of a meeting,
while the boss was speaking,
so that I could see the colour
of your t-shirt underneath

blue-green, the same shade as your irises
in brand new polyester
- it’s been my favourite hue forever -
so you may as well have seared I Love You
right across your chest,
naked on Zoom.

I watched your lips shake
- and some tears escape -
and how your box stuck out in agony
for me
between the rows and rows
of red-eyed faces, separated,
tired and…

Photograph provided by Rachel O’Brien as part of a seasonal collaboration between Amy Knight and Foxglove and Ivy

The sun arrived in time to say “Good Night”.
What a cold, wet Spring!
It was already late when we set off walking
and the sky finally took off her clouds.

That cold, wet Spring went on forever!
My face, chest, arms and toes were ready
when the sky finally took off her clouds;
put on her evening dress of pink and gold.

Face, chest, arms, toes, eyes, tongue — ready
and Spring knew that I’d been aching for you too.
She eased that pink and gold charmeuse over her head,
for our late walk.

I kept on aching; sun…

Digital drawing of one of the benches that inspired the poem, created for the author by a friend using Apple Pencil

I’m searching for a bench, redolent of the one halfway
between our houses, where the white vans drove too fast,
straight past our weeknight curfew.

Now your burning guitar strings are replaced
by the cold chains of these playground swings,
with long-lost mixtapes
m u t t e r i n g through hours of hide and seek.

What was it that we wrote and drew
and thought we knew?

Perhaps the bench I need to rest my feet is one we found
down by the water’s edge,
on the day we tried hard not to touch. …

Amy Knight

Wordsmith . Storyteller . Poet . Collaborator . Listens to what human hearts are whispering and sings it out of the window at sunset. IG: @amyknightwriter

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