we thought we were indestructible.
2am and the night was young,
bodies pressed against each other in toilet cubicles,
other people’s stories scrawled on the walls,
ideas in permanent marker and they’ll forget in the morning,
they always do.
it was all sweat and spit and kissing strangers,
dirt clogging our nostrils,
piling our words on top of each other,
palms pressed together praying for time to stop.
panic, we are all just trying to be the most interesting,
the best dressed,
placing our trauma in weighing scales trying to decide who has the right to cry.
we stroke each other’s backs and try to remember our names. we scream that we love each other
over the blur of noise and disappointment.
we scream that we love each other but we are just strangers out of sync,
trying to force our words to fit together.
we think that this will last forever.
6am and light spills through curtains.
conversation has turned to death and everybody’s insides are shaking –
we have rehearsed this moment before.
we don’t think about tomorrow because it doesn’t exist.
nothing exists except these empty people –
searching for something to try and kill them
so they can say they survived.
we’ll look back on this in a year and realise all of our words were made up.
we’ll know how it feels to piece ourselves back together and throw away the parts that don’t fit.
we’ll have ran with nowhere to go and we’ll have landed, no breath left in our lungs in a
place we don’t recognise.
home was never where we thought it was.
home was never in the arms of the people who would hold us,
just to tear us open and watch us bleed.
it was somewhere we didn’t know existed.
it was in the moments we thought we wouldn’t find a way out of.
it was in the bleeding, the screaming,
the hurting, and the healing,
aching and bruised,
war-torn and laughing and beautiful and new.
Amy Stirling (she/her) is a Manchester based poet who has been writing for many years – starting as an outlet for expressing complex emotions that came with growing up. Her poetry is mainly inspired by personal experiences of navigating sexuality, family issues, relationships and mental health. Of the poem, she says, “this is a poem about recognising how things used to be, exploring change and the idea of home”. @amywriteswords
This poem is in response to a prompt selected by our Creative editor Monika Radojevic, “You, but in the eyes of another”. To stay up to date and submit your response to next month’s prompts, follow us on Instagram where we make the announcement.