I Still Remember The Number Plate Of The Peugeot 308 – Lydia Unsworth 

I passed the autumn and early winter noticing the flies but, whether from stubbornness, pride, contempt, or lethargy, refusing to do a thing about it. Sometimes I look at the edges of squalor and think, is this squalor? Not yet.

Unable to remember the sound of my own voice, I recall VHS tapes that might have proved it. For when I might need to prove it. Taped over; haunting cupboards everywhere.

The buzzing reminds me I am still responsible.

After these sweltering days, we are all grateful for a little wind, a little rain. The slightly open door keeps hitting the frame. I joke-clenched my fist in the baby daycare place, for which I am not sure of the English name, only because I didn’t have a sophisticated enough repertoire for what I was trying to say. Then I followed the lines of all the adult eyes to see if they were seeing what I was seeing; i.e. the fist in the baby daycare place.

I close the windows because the children playing football outside are not mine and the sound of the ball bouncing off modern surfaces is slamming into the bulges of my barely contained rage. I would like to speak in a clear, calm timbre. Wrap a towel around the exterior walls of my returning body. Walk like I grew up with newspapers. Exhibit the confidence of a six-digit number. Mediate.

I would like to take drastic action. Gather my hair into a ponytail and just chop. I think I did that once. When I was drunk. When my hair was short and my ponytail shorter. And in the morning I hardly remembered and nobody else noticed at all.


LYDIA UNSWORTH is the author of two collections of poetry: Certain Manoeuvres(Knives Fork & Spoons, 2018) and Nostalgia for Bodies (Erbacce, 2018), for which she won the 2018 Erbacce Poetry Prize. Her work can be found in Ambit, Pank, Litro, KillAuthor, Tears in the Fence, Banshee, and Sentence: Journal of Prose Poetics, among others. Based in Manchester/Amsterdam. Twitter@lydiowanie

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