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'It's not Kevin'

Writing by Lara Slyce. Illustration by Polly Burnay.

The morning after the accident I’m sitting in my


Cross legged,

robed in just my underwear

Your t-shirt

Her coat.

Hair akimbo

Chapped, distracted lips.

I’m playing the song dad showed me in

the car,

sometime in my first decade,

That I showed you

This Thursday,

In your bedroom,

Here in the morning of your second.

You cried, picturing your fifth.

A drunk lonely man

As he is

And he was

When you’re married with children of your


The shock of my kitchen,

There, in all its contingency.

A cold wind,

Some weighted head, that happens to be mine.

At the end of the track,

The final chord,

And then

A woman’s voice.

She is childlike



She doesn’t fit.

We didn’t notice her in your bachelor


I don’t remember her part

In my paternal car-built Childhood


Maybe dad changed the track before her

- to give me a lecture on The Significance of

His song.

Or another aural piece of my essence

Maybe we spoke over her – thinking the song done.

Or kissed,


Missing her.

Why was she?

I wondered about her rich inner life.


A ghost?

A somnambulist?

A hope?

What did he call her?

What was her relation to the sad drunk man?

What space does consciousness occupy as relatedness?


I’m reading this book now.

To remember the catharsis, the calm I felt

Finishing it this summer.

Around mothers and babies,

When I rediscovered it


Tears streaming down my cheek

Throwing myself into the ocean

Where is she?

Last night was the red threat

A familiar cavernous sadness,



The threat of hospitals

My inexplicable violent rage

But you change your tone and hug me

And then I make dinner and reorganise

the books on my new shelf

And stopped crying.

My body regressed back to the mean.

I read something short and went to sleep.

And in the morning,

Stretches and pills,

A cold shower to remember my mythology –

And my bodies resilience to threat and


I will drag my bike out of the cupboard,

cycle in today.

To remember you flying down that Roman

Lane and wish you well.

To allow you to live in my memories as happy

As well as hateful.

Because I can choose to,


oh, how your great smile


And I will take Emma’s coat to be dry cleaned with money I earned from working on his mother’s farm.

And I will drink up vitamin C

This is all I have

But it’s not nothing.


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