Winners 2018

Lucy Thynne (Second prize)

Lady Margaret School, London

untold secret to my mother

breastbone of water, hold me between
the thin and the gap. ask me, soft, why

i had wanted to sew absence into my skin.
tell me that your body too had once learnt

to translate hunger into another kind
of emptiness; how you had used lack

to chisel your flesh to glass. grip my thinning
wrists like the white handles of kitchen knives,

brush my hair out over your lap
in a gleaming fan. like you used to do,

when i ran about your feet and my thoughts
had not yet contorted. foetal, i now curl

and become a question mark at your toes.
you say i’m sorry, as if to apologise

for all mothers who have watched
daughters twin with bathroom mirrors,

watched them cry into self-made carcasses.
we gaze at the moon outside, an opal wound,

but somehow we know it will heal itself
in the morning. what is left to say

about this night? shy, the sky begins to fold
in on itself; presents the darkness we know

only behind eyelids. i don’t know who to tell
so i shout it, huge, down my own throat –

while you are kissing my forehead, cool,
the sheet so thin it leaves a bruise.


Project Details

  • Date October 4, 2018
  • Tags 2018 Winning Poems