In a House

i feel


and buried


like if i lived

in a house

with no doors

and gaps

for all the wind

and all the snow

to blow through


i feel alone

and empty


like if i were a house

with no doors

and empty rooms


more than anything

i want to start again

but i don’t know where i’d go


or what i would do

with this house

and all its empty rooms


Tea Leaves

I stood and listened

to the jasmine tea leaves

unfurling in the pot

and realised


I can hear them

opening up


against each other

and the mesh of the strainer


and as the steam rose

I wondered what else

I was deaf to


Whenever I Tell You


I wonder

precisely what you say to yourself


when you’re climbing into bed

or getting out of the shower

or when you’re putting on your clothes

or bending over to pull on your boots


I assume they’d be similar

to what I say

when I’m climbing into bed

or getting out of the shower

or when I’m putting on my clothes

or bending over to pull on my boots


this means, though,

that they’re not always kind things

that they’re not always healthy things

that they’re not the kind of things

you’d ever say

to anyone else


and certainly

not to me.


Whenever I tell you

you look beautiful

you look surprised

even (especially)

when you try not to


and I wonder

if I caught you

in the middle

of criticising yourself.


or if you just don’t hear it often enough

but it feels

like a little bit

of both.


Whenever I tell you

you’re beautiful

you smile

you kiss me

you say thank you


but allow me

to tell you now

without interruptions


how beautiful you are

when you do your hair

when your skin is still warm

from your shower

or even when you’re asleep

and vulnerable

and smelling like sheets

and your hair a mess of bobby pins.


And I know you won’t believe me

I never asked you to

And if you said the same to me

I would behave as you do.


But you are worth so much more

than the sum of all your faults

you feel you have.


You are a sum of little skills

and secrets and habits

andĀ idiosyncrasies

and contradictions

and I hope one day to learn them all.


So when this poem is over

call me an idiot

call me stubborn

call me sentimental

call me what you like.


All I wanted you to know

is that I feel my best

when I look at you.

The Secret in the Snow


the snow sparkled

like it had a secret


and I spent most of my morning

thinking about my body


and what I would put on it

and in it

and whether or not

$60 was more cash than I had

at the moment

for a menstrual cup


and walking through the carpark

I saw the snow

in all its shades

of brown and black and grey

and realised I’d never have names

for all those shades

or a name for

the snow and mud

on the tips of my boots


and I spent my bus ride

wondering how I might’ve turned out

if this self of mine, at 23

had been allowed to talk to

the 15 year old self of mine


so I practiced feeling contented

because i needed that

at 15


and even though

I spent too much of my day

thinking about my body

and wondering

if men thought about their bodies

the way women do


I allowed myself

the luxury

of being with this self of mine

while the sun set at 3:34 PM


and I walked home


and hoping

that I might learnĀ the secret

in the snow

Into Words

My wife is the kind of woman who
writes brewing instructions for tea
on a little card with illustrations above the kettle

Who complains about old Scottish customs
while her Glasgow patter only thickens

When I try to write about her
I have trouble because
I think she sounds too eccentric
and too warm and too wonderful
to be any fictional character I could create

But for once,
even as a writer
I am alright
with the prospect
of not knowing
what to say
or how to put
how I feel about her
into words.