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Whistleblower, Speak

Writing by Molly Herbert. Illustration by Beth Morton.

Eagle Eyes stares from my bedroom window,

curtains winding, transparent in the sunlight.

Eagle Eyes stares at the streets below,

wishing upon cars and cobblestones

haunted by vanishing spells and ashen hexes

for answers to a question he doesn’t yet know.

Eagle Eyes doesn’t look

he stares as I stand on my office counter.

Dead wood fit for desk wood. A polished corpse fit for the occasion. 

I have my Murder book in hand,

marked by congealing intent and vintage tags designed to deceive.

Ocean tides rush and encircle

eating table legs alive. 

They swallow dignity like we do nostalgia. Dream-Pop Lies.

Sea waves glisten baby blue in office lighting. Ripe corals and lost seahorses

swirl calmly like I’m the plug hole. 

Baby blue would

gobble me alive if it could. Eagle Eyes could only dream

as I dash for the stairwell.

Flashforwards swing like rusting pendulums

against unravelling bedsheets

still dancing wildly in the breeze like they have to.

Like it’s the only thing they can do.

Like hardwood barriers with their locks

and burglar alarms have nothing on us. Ever. 

I am but a summer’s morning barging in on the Moon

sleeping with the memory of the Earth lying dead on the streets below him.

Summer's morning barges in

to eat the past for breakfast. A rumble in desk-shade blue.

Two hours of bathing in your headspace when it wanted you for Eight.

If you repeat it again expect the flood to drag you home.

Step down from that exhumed carcass of a workspace and face the sounds

of roaring waves in churning tides

gorging on kitten-heel rocks in salt-water air, bitter with ruby regret.

Labyrinths of summer-stricken bedposts

with crystal canvas curtains 

and cherry-chalk flags scribbled across cobblestones.

Your one red fingerprint will brush the tops of the

rising shore like a lighthouse twirling round and round

to no avail. 

At the doors of the office, the flood will run thick

and high.

The body rejects what it doesn’t like

and I am trapped in a vein. Am I the oil spill? Am I ruined?

One finger I rose above that current. No help came so I saved myself with

glass-shattering hammers for feet, opening the floodgates

of that hardwood gate: a corporate waterboard. I cracked the office

wide with a kick of my underwater 

drowning water

summer’s water

baby water

help me water

office-wearing poisoned well of a dominant hand.

I had almost lost my breathing.

I had almost lost all meaning. But it was there if I squinted for it hard enough.

Stain my blouse red forever.

Keep the Change.

Eagle Eyes stares from my bedroom above with a plug in hand.

A chain wrapped itself lasciviously round his thousand-pound wrist.

He must’ve bought it for the occasion to blind me with my own sunlight.

But veils of linen unfurled in the magnificent, 

drowning, blinding abyss of my

golden, honest, hopeless,

unapologetically glorious


And he said “River, won’t you run on back to the pond?”.

Not Until I Let The Ground I Walk On


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