The orange House

Serafina Lee

Flies circle the fruit bowl. 

Ambling wingstrokes- some 

sway down and sink, tiny wafts of 

air circulating in amongst nectarines,

Sickly, sticky juice pooling so they can drink. 

 

The air is warm and still, 

It tightens around my neck like 

hands in a hot bath. 

 

The condensation has a citrus smell, 

With small fingerprints it clings to the ceiling,

Leaving smudges on cream walls that are 

bare and smooth as pale flesh.

 

The heat curls outside

where olives like bracelets adorn branches 

that bend and lower pointed fingers to the patio floor.

 

She screams as she flies, 

Floating head with matted hair,

Fig tree webs circling in an upside stare, 

The sky, reverberating blues

-hums-

Refracting like the inside of a retina as

the swing   turns and turns. 

 

came in running, the girl came in 

bounding with the younger one behind her, 

Cherry-smeared lips sticky like her bare 

feet as she crawls across the earth. 

 

wait      wait

 

Breathlessly retreating, 

Enfolded like a bat’s wing into the shade,

The empty kitchen rests while 

the outside air vibrates through the 

white square of the doorway. 

 

A cat yawns and sinks 

into the foam sofa,

Claw-marking the fabric. 

 

Dry weeds scratch skin as I wade

through the pine needle sea. 

The space is wide like a lost secret.

 

Gradually the warmth extends—

like a thread through my abdomen

and my feet float towards this

contracting thing. A semblance of colour -

 

Dappled magnolia

 

This is where the djinn have silent meetings, 

Whispering an unspoken language-

stroking the inside of a cheek like a breeze. 

 

My eye catches stolen glances.

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© Helicon Magazine 2019

University of Bristol