Sarah Gibbon’s Things hang well on me now I am so beautifully sad

Second prize winner of the Annual Ambit Competition 2021 for Poems, judged by Kim Addonizio.

Your brain has given you up to the machines: a half-life of wires and tubes
that shuttle the air through your lungs.
In a stale hot room,
decisions are exhaled:
a body must be shared out
in small, hopeful packages,
and what to do with the corneas of your wide brown eyes.

But I am inattentive.
There is a line of sunlight around the doorframe. Its blurred rectangle shines onto the resin floor. I step through it and out of the room,
into a wardrobe,
into a scoop-backed dress of black silk,
to a party held at a rare altitude.
I am in love
with the depression
between each rib
with shallow exhalations,
white lines
and a man I’ve just met
who runs his hands over my various sorrows.

I wake one morning
when the light through a venetian blind scores the floorboards of a strange room, its terracettes of discarded clothes.
The air has thickened overnight:
I wonder about the corneas.
Something near me breathes.

Sarah Gibbons is based in East London, and between a hectic job, motherhood and an ill-advised tendency to go on very long runs, she writes a lot of poems. She’s doing an MA in poetry run jointly by the Poetry School and Newcastle University. This is her first time in Ambit.

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