They Think They Know Me by Ceinwen Elizabeth Cariad Haydon

They think they know me, but they don’t.
They think they see me, but they don’t.

With shred-shroud eyes
my mind turns inward.
Listen: blood? Blood surges life’s
streams scarlet. Blood, the
sole reason I survive.

Is that so? It wasn’t always.
Once, family circled me.
Full cups, sweetmeats,
hands to hold,
giggles bubble-blown with kisses,
hugs night-tight to sleep,
dreams to dance to kisses
on my cheeks and forehead.
Rainbow feelings, sky-arched:
happy, sad, lively, tired,
cross and kind.

I was known then, I was seen.

Once-upon-a-time was left
behind; war storm-trooped
to now as footsteps pounded
hell’s bombastic tune out loud.
Acrid dust fell, choked lungs,
stung eyes to blindness
and displaced my tribe.
crushed bones in cellars,
fragile shelters of indifferent strength.

A man came, tugged hard,
‘To the sea shore’, he said. The day
before, my mother
left a hole in the tarmac,
away in her arms.

The sea rocked on and on,
high and low.
The swell forced cries of silence
from my belly ache and
dead-empty rage seared in flares
to scorch earth’s core to death.

At last, up-ended by waves,
the boat
tipped me away.
Brine calmed sour fear,
I was end-prepared,
shriven by loss at last.

Save our souls, save our souls
and curse the saviour.

Hairy, tattooed arms plucked me
as the ocean yielded.
No escape, no peace,
And so, no end.
His words, veiled in runic breaths,
guttural sounds, commanded, ‘Live’.
His face sheened with smiles told me,
‘Your luck’s in today, thank God.’
But it was not and I could not.

They think they know me, but they don’t.
They think they see me but they don’t.


Ceinwen Elizabeth Cariad Haydon
Writing has always been important to Ceinwen as a private pursuit. Over the last few years she has started to write with a view to communicating with others. Her work is mainly short fiction and free verse poetry, although she is experimenting with different forms. She has had stories published on the Fiction on the Web and Literally Stories curated short story websites, and in Alliterati, Newcastle University’s literature and art magazine. Her Poems have been published in Poems to Survive In (Fat Damsel), Writers Against Prejudice (editor Marie Lightman) and In between Hangovers. Eventually, she hopes to facilitate creating writing projects with hard to reach groups. She is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

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