Daisy Behagg




the truth is you wish to put this clamour down.
if the afterlife is other people’s memories of us
how many and who are you homing. everything
becomes a banishing. learn to feel your anger
then articulate it. learn to think of something
else. all you want is containment. all this noise
held somewhere outside the body. the tedium
of years spent turning them, each heavy and
blunt, each one you didn’t choose. as though
looking long enough will erode stone. it cannot
be true that once the thing is done to you
it is done to you forever. this stone on your chest
weighs like a dream stone and you can’t get up.
in the dream sometimes you walk into a clearing,
a silence so dense it is forested. you could let it
grow over all this, drown it out, feel the calcified
loosen, rise, drunk up into sap. you could kneel
here, lift handfuls of icy rush, palm velvet, feather-
moss, reached only through a shattering. water
as glass. bone and sinew. the weight as you stand
and hold it a first time, electrical pulse
a beat through the rock under your hand,
the way it enters your muscles as tension, new
hardness as you test it, brace, heft, your mind still
for once, all concentration singing up through
the throwing arm, the aim, the lift







you’re supposed to observe yourself from a place of stillness
make awareness a birdwatcher
pulled through the wingtips up into                 the small bones

walk lightly       avoid startling               every move you make
the whole flock           remembers                   takes flight at
the lightest footfall                  why don’t you remember

what birds are you thinking
you have to be conscious everywhere is some part of you
injured or dying                         is some part of you

standing long legged in a mirror lake are you genetically

lightboned did you try breaking your self down
into mulch and devouring the nutrient             did you try

opening                         did you try

circling slowly at dusk






white noise


I play you in my head
like white noise
for company
until I stop feeling

a way of being held
you have to
get it where you can




proximity to people is perception altering
– I come away from some women giantess –
all wrong-footed, lumbering




the way it swells up around me
in the therapist’s office – gigantic
body of loss

she instructs me to stand
as a reminder of my legs
– that I have a true shape –

supported on the earth
– but I am endless –
everywhere – monstrous lungs emptying

the room – cracks appear
at my eyes

and mouth – expanding




I want to stop raging around at everything
berating it for not loving me enough

my criticisms are extremely accurate



upon entering the tattoo parlour the artist
immediately starts to clean the sleep
from the corners of my eyes with her
long nails




body plays mindlessly in the background
[I am hypothesising whether and why you are
angry with me] certain energy types

can become addicted to anything. I am addicted
to knowing whether or not you are angry with me
[this makes you angry]

what’s awful when you have been treated
unbearably is to become conscious of all
the ways you are unbearable.

the brain, filled with little trees, will branch
more in the route attention is paid. exposed
to a strong force in one direction over time,

the mind grows into its shape, becomes




something between so alone
I could scream and every
single place we meet at hurts




for instance falling in love
from a distance –
for safety
hold grief two hundred
miles and three years
from the body –




I walk in soaked
you hand me a cloth
– mime
wiping the rain
from my glasses –
I blush
like I’m at our wedding




the saying goes that
a person handed a lifejacket
who has only seen shovels
will keep trying to dig




I’m just a fucked up mind
looking for my own piece of girl
turns out none of us are concepts
you notice something different each time
count the things in the room to arrive there
I’m here
you say out loud
the room says nothing back
which means you are safe
for now
only the people on life rafts died
life rafts linked to premature death!
we decided
without moving scene to scene
that seamlessly
we didn’t want it
the waves keep crashing through the silent shot
like a metaphor for sound




Daisy Behagg is a nonbinary poet and nurse based in Brighton. Their work has appeared in Ambit, Magma, Poems in Which, Poetry Wales, The Emma Press Anthology of Love, The Morning Star, The North, The Poetry Review and The Rialto, among others. They won the Bridport prize for poetry 2013.

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