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The Vanishing

It looks like you from the bus
the shape of the neck harlequin jacket
jutting triangles of elbows pumping
so I yell at the driver to stop
leap like a kamikaze Olympic hopeful,
thinking only of your voodoo smile
that cupid’s mouth blowing smoke rings
spitting tiny arrows while, spread-eagled
and quivering, we laughed and watched you
unfurling your glittered eyes
doing things with mirrors
sailing out your dazzle ship.
My feet hit concrete, the geometrics
of the face resolve, I know
that I’ve been fooled again
ask myself how long
I’ll have to wait, when was it
we missed you hiding in plain sight
what in the world
I would give
just to see.


I’m sorting socks, I’m sorting socks
it’s therapeutic so they say
this litany of drudgery
but a tidy house is a tidy mind
and who’d have thought there were so many
hues of blue? These woolly worms
curled up on the table mocking
represent the ones we love
partners, mothers, daughters, sons,
friends who’ve spent the night then left
a small memento of their stay
which for months you’ll try to place
but never will, for you’ll never know.
This bag is always full of lonely
un-joined souls gathering
tartan, sporty, Christmas-themed
same pattern, wrong colour
twenty different shades of black
I tuck and fold to the TV news
from Royal Weddings to old man Trump
while the world twitters and spins away
left, right, borrowed, blue
one day I dream I’ll take the lot
throw them on the back-door steps
pour on petrol, light a fire
dance barefoot around the flames
but then I find a matching pair
as the gentle tick of the kitchen clock
tells me life goes on and this
will never stop for we are always
one mess short of anarchy
you must control what you can control
so I’ll keep them close, my socks, my socks

Morag McDowell-Smith is a writer, mother and European Scot. She works in access and education. From Glasgow originally, Morag has lived in Germany, Brighton and other places but now lives in Paisley with her family. She is an award-winning writer of short stories which have appeared in various publications, including New Writing Scotland, Shoe Fly Baby (Bloomsbury – The Asham Awards collection) and Nitrogen House. Recently she has also been working on poetry and spoken word performance and is due to be published in Laldy and New Voices (Federation of Writers (Scotland).


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