All I Listen To

Alyssia MacAlister


And when she extends her throat to me
the waves bear down. Without salt, without sting
all motion halts in me.
We are in ultraviole(n)t deep                      pressureless.
She confesses best when we are alone
in the kitchen or a room of my own
she will stand within me
hands at hip height turned upward,
claw-like tendencies.

She does not cry.
Though we will tilt our head back
so a sound tumbles out, a howl in wolf mimicry.

This voice – hers now mine – alters the temperature
of my spine, pours further
than my hair could ever hope to grow.
These long notes affect a sorrow not decadent,
though the melody is complicated.
Come out raw,
though the harmonies are delicate.

We are not concerned with the surface.
Haul stars to suspend like depth charges about us
that emit silver light.

We are not scared to drown
We are happy to fall

With no ocean floor we soar as a bird
on high breeze                  has a constant call
which echoes out            has no need to return.
This is how we can remain for hours. The words she forms
with my mouth express every feeling I ever had.

We do not tire.

Then I hear a bang and we are severed;
dredged from wherever.

She is a voice.                    I am a body.
He walks in to see the house tidier than it was before.
All I can think is: I hope he could not hear me when he opened the front door.

Illustration by Alyssia MacAlister.

Illustration by Alyssia MacAlister.

Previously published in the UKCCWS Illustrated Anthology Vol. 2 (2015) with the accompanying illustration.

Alyssia MacAlister is a Masters student in Creative Writing at the University of Durham. Alyssia writes poetry, prose and non-fiction and is nurturing a found-text poetry project with the working title Proper Gander. When she’s not cutting up newspapers, Alyssia spends most of her time reading trauma theory research and saving insects from life-threating situations. Contact at