• makeswordswork

Bull Smurfs, Fish Bums, And Zentangles

Updated: Jun 7


IMAGE: Two overlapping circles with faces on


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Time outside.

We invent new insults:

Bull Smurf.

Get hysterical about the time the teenager

outside the shop extended a fist

and said something to me, three times, like a mantra:

I looked at him baffled. You knocked fists.

At the bus-stop,

I said ‘Why did he keep saying ‘Fish Bum!’ to me?’


We fold paper into awkward cranes.

Frequent rainy towpaths.

Puddle-jump on cracked pavements.


No school runs.

Instead we do PE with Joe.

Kangaroo hops and Spiderman lunges.


We plan three-courses

chop, chat and sing the ingredients into meals.

We make elaborate knickerbocker glories.

And then we moan together, too full.


You climb and clamber on me.

You are all limbs and wriggle

wanting closeness and comfort.

I cringe from this need.

My need is space

and it shouts from me

This loud need makes you recoil.

My voice tense with impatience.


I need an hour without seeing your face.

A minute without a demand.


I need time to gaze on valleys, clouds, a weir.

I need to talk to mallards and pot-bellied pigs.

Without an echo.

I need to walk with only my constant narrator.

Not competing with yours.

I need to march at my speed.


I need the space

to order my thoughts

to decipher anxiety dreams.

This need is feral

And has mother-guilt all tied up in it.

This should over-ride any selfish craving for space.

I need to watch you into the distance...


...When I am alone:


I build a cove in my front room

with sea-glass, stones and wave sounds.

I turn my bedroom into a festival dance tent

all tie-died throws, lantern fairy lights and cushions.

I convert the attic into a river-bank

in the company of a cuddly mole, hedgehog, stoat.

lay a blanket down and colour Zentangles.

A creative retreat stretches virtually from

Leeds to Kendal to Norwich.


Then, I miss you.


Writing by SARAH L DIXON


Artwork by JO EDEN

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