‘Picturehouse’ by Charlotte Gann


Darkness is the wave that carries us crashing,
crashing onto this beach where scared young girls
wander barefoot, dressed in pale vests,
move like dancers with thumb-bruised arms.
Darkness is the wave that plunges us, lank-haired
and middle-parted, always staring straight ahead
at a family man gone bad/ loner with a grudge/
blinds lit from within, the mottled shape of butterflies.
Darkness is the wave that brings me here,
to the brink of her long tattooed back as she rides him
beneath a small high-bolted window.

Darkness is the wave that sends me spiralling
into lidless forest where someone hunted
hurtles always many miles from hearing.
Darkness is the wave that breaks, wet scarlet
on white plaster, in bedroom/ bathroom/ hotel room/
apartment/ in the ill-lit hallway beyond
the peephole, to the hectic rumble of a rising lift.
Darkness is the wave that sends us spinning out
onto this steep black-cobbled beach, lip-first,
to safely taste a woman, impossibly naked, in a room
frantic with wallpaper and lamp-thrown shadows.
(first published in The Rialto, Issue 75)
Charlotte Gann is a freelance writer and editor based in Sussex. She has had work in The Rialto, The North, Smiths Knoll and Magma, among others. Her pamphlet The Long Woman (Pighog) was shortlisted for the 2012 Michael Marks Award.