I Wanted To Tell You by Durre Shahwar

I Wanted To Tell You

that my body didn’t feel right

that my limbs were beat

that the prized hollow of my womb was filled with rocks

that in my head was both an uncanny silence and a noise

that there were voices there I didn’t recognise

that my ears have tried to turn inwards to shut out the world,

only to be met by the erratic thumping of my heart

I wanted to tell you that my feet were becoming calloused

from all the running I have been doing trying to catch up

with my own life

I wanted to tell you

that my spine no longer stands straight

that the back of my neck tilts forward, letting my head drop

that each time I look in the mirror I become more opaque,

more translucent, and that sometimes I wish I was bigger, fuller,

so that there wasn’t so much negative space next to my reflection,

so that my head didn’t seem so small, my nose so pointed,

my eyes so hollow

The unsurety of my gaze haunts me and I have to

will myself into existence,

remind myself that I am

I have never seen myself scream and I wonder if that would

make me more real. Whether my eyes would be less hazy

and more engaging, whether my body would feel less

like a shadow of someone else’s

I wanted to tell you

that sometimes I stand under the shower and imagine

what being trapped deep in the ocean would be like

I wonder whether I would struggle as the water filled my ears

I wanted to tell you

that I sometimes stand and hold my breath

under the falling water, count to ten, practicing in preparation,

incase it ever happens.

Incase I find myself thousands of miles high in the sky,

plummeting down.

I wanted to tell you

That I have never been good at holding my breath and I

never learnt to swim. I’m only really good at holding my head

above the water, but lately the tide has been rising

slowly up to my chin.

Durre Shahwar

Durre Shahwar

Durre Shahwar is a writer, an Associate Editor at Wales Arts Review and also an Artist in Residence in 2017. Her work focuses on identity, intersectional feminism and mental health. She has an MA in Creative Writing and was commended for the Robin Reeves Prize for Young Writers in 2015. Her story was published in How to Exit a Burning Building, by Parthian Books. She has been published in various magazines and has performed at various events. You can connect with her on Twitter/her website: @Durre_Shahwar / durreshahwar.com
Durre Shahwar

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  • Rosie Sandler

    Love all the imagery, Durre, and the idea of feet ‘becoming calloused from all the running I have been doing trying to catch up with my own life’. Fantastic ending, with the water rising!

  • August Pfizenmayer

    Beautiful.