Photography © Jennifer Matthews


Concrete Shoulders

I wear a wristband around my neck
like a dog collar, and I ride the overpass
watching a skylight rise to outshine your life;
the weight of my brain straining
white plastic, white tears across the hospital floor
spreading the blood from my footprint
to the magnolia wall; it’s so liquid, now
that I’m swimming, rain around your falling,
and the blood red halo, making
me feel so green; bare flesh thinking of the sleeping bag,
and a shagpile carpet, not
the concrete, or your form bridging the border of a broken world,
two flanks pulling away from each other
like my hand, yours
as the everlasting night shines right through your scorched knuckles,
and your strength ends on an outward breath;
I pull on the rope around my throat, crying
out over dead air, and fall face first into the flood;
my belt-loop’s a fibre
caught on a rose thorn,
unthreading itself

I am just a shadow, cast
across the seafloor;
you lay straight across the raft, like
a crash barrier; a dampness wets the back of your hands
as screams weigh down your palms,
and I wait, patiently, to receive


Thomas Hutchinson is twenty-nine years old, and he lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Poet/Photographer Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.