'Unrequited' & 'Reprisal': Two Poems by Emma Halliday


Glimpses of you

from a bus window

an imagined brush of

limbs, makes my soul

jump. Listen for you

in every conversation

and pretend to be

your nearest relation

click on photographs

of each tagged smile

want to trace dots

of summer freckles

loathe anyone with

their arm around you

dream of a pillow dent

on the left-hand side

of the bed. Bring you

tea on Sunday morning

plan the shared places

we’ve not yet been to

thaw your feet and lock

our heart into my skin.



You reached into my throat and wrung my heart

until it felt impossible to breathe.

You went. It seemed unthinkable to start

again – to get my world to spin. Our death

was slow to come; each memory replayed –

the way my life shrank in your mansion of

deceit. It left a tarnished taste. Each day

lived like a shoal trapped in a net. Your love

was shallow deep. No thought to reconcile

us, even as I begged you not to leave.

I heard you’d walked another up the aisle

and realised there was nothing left to grieve.

The sentence fit the plea of self-defence.

Exhibit A was smeared with my revenge.


Emma Halliday lives in Lancashire and is studying for a postgraduate diploma in creative writing at York University. Her first published short story was in FlyBe’s inflight magazine and she likes to imagine the passengers reading this at several thousand feet with their G&T. She subsequently was the winner of the Guardian’s travel writing competition (UK category) and has been shortlisted for, or won, regional fiction and poetry competitions. As a relatively new creative writer, she is now navigating the bewildering but wonderful world of literary journals.

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