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Poem: Soap petals

Photo courtesy of Laurie Shelly


There are certain words that are familiar to me

because I have come across them

in books

and know what they mean, but when I say them

out loud,

I realise I don’t know how to pronounce them.

My bedroom walls are a powdery blush colour. I chose the colour myself! I remember, when I was a child, my dad painted the walls while I sat on the floor drawing a picture of a girl in a castle with my rainbow set of pencils, her jewelled crown and her pet kitten.

My bedroom has never moved, even though the world would turn upside down because I never knew who to talk to at lunch, coming home, stinging eyes, stuffy throat, my bedroom was still there, my own world, all my things, soft toys, patchwork quilts, heart-shaped cushions, paint sets, books, all my favourite stories, all in one place.

Clustered crystal perfume bottles next to my mirror, I crush blood orange and almond blossom, lavender, buttery peach into my skin, the raspberry perfume is too sweet. I am running out of perfume, I need more-

sometimes I flinch because I don’t flinch. something horrific, I read about something horrific and I just think how horrific sympathetic posts sent from pretty pink bedrooms and then I snuggle up and read a magazine and smile into the pages- I want to scream at myself! Grab myself by the shoulders, shake myself awake! Spending seventy euro on perfume! Honeydew, cherry, nectarine! Their world turns upside down, but mine stays still!

“Volunteer work looks great on college applications!” If your bedroom was on fire and you could only save one thing, what would it be? I laugh, and say probably my notebooks, but I have never had to weigh up my belongings to see what was heaviest

I write this at my desk in a pretty notebook. It has gold-embossed flowers on the cover. I don’t want to just put down my pen after writing this, feeling proud of myself, thinking I have done enough, sitting back and admiring the pretty thing I have made-

Tonight, I will brush my teeth and feel minty-clean, put on soft floral pyjamas, curl up, and sleep, and there will be no smoke choking me out from my dreams. I will dream of soap petals and nightmarish exam situations where I turn up without having studied and I will wake up and be relieved.


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