Issue 25: Lucy Holt

Women in real life

Sally Webster from Coronation Street was in my yoga class

I could barely contain myself in half pigeon, thinking about

being the same person at work every day

and how wild that must be.

When I think of Sally Webster I think of hot tubs and conservatories

of infinite time before breakfast for adultery

I think in frog pose that — yes — I will have twelve husbands

and I will invite death to my doorstep in five consecutive decades

and I will go blonde, blonde, forever


What sun is this sun — nightdress? As if

I’ve ever known what to do with my hands.

Perhaps, Tuesday, mimosas on the high street

wet chips, towns, ships. Oh

but she’s always spoken highly of you

like the pinstripe suits they don’t make for children,

or the slick lining of lipgloss in my stomach,

impossible jellyfish purple

so angry I could eat myself.

There are six bulldozers lined up outside the hospital now

and they have the quiz shows on with the sound turned down,

the always hum of them


At Christmas or in other wide spaces I have been bloated

and I have felt things —

the inside of a cheek texture is a start

I see your crouched jacket and I am reminded of a

woman being brought down from the attic

covered in mulch,

of snow gathering in the car park at night

and the way your mother would busy herself in the kitchen

making me want to die

A red flag is just a pointy thing waving, but

at least I have learned how to secrete things away in rock pools

at least once or twice I have known how to make you laugh

Lucy Holt is a writer who lives in Manchester. She has had poetry and non-fiction featured in The Observer, 3:AM Magazine and Ache Magazine, and was named a New Poet by The Poetry Business in 2020.

Copyright © 2021 by Lucy Holt, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.