Emily by Maya Horton

21/11/1983 – 16/10/2006


I never knew you, not really, not in the way

that others did: that sharing-dark-thoughts

and communal experiences of CPNs, units,


tubes. But I admired you. You had something

I lacked: independence, courage. I craved your attention.

When you died, I cried. Played that Lou Reed song


over and over. How could I possibly do this

if you couldn’t? I absorbed the details, struggling,

feeling ever-more like the outsider, unwanted tourist.


One storm-night in Dunstaffnage I stared at gerberas

through smoke-warm windows: your favourite flower.

I read your poetry and was torn apart,


my own sink filled with roiling heartsblood.

One man saved my life with a single kind word.

Someone I trusted far more than she deserved


said, “not EVERY suicide goes to Hell.”

So I left my people. Just for you. And ten years

is such a long time to unpick all the strands


of abuse, trauma, body dysmorphia, body dysphoria;

acrid taste-sting over the toilet bowl. But I did it.

Bleeding and crying I claimed my body my own.


I wish you were here. There is no ending

to a story that’s ended. It hasn’t been an easy decade,

but I really wish you’d been here for it.

One thought on “Emily by Maya Horton

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