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Charlotte Cosgrove

Charlotte Cosgrove is a poet and English lecturer from Liverpool, England. Her work has been published in numerous journals and anthologies in print and online. She is the founding editor of Rough Diamond Poetry Journal. Charlotte's first poetry book, Silent Violence with Petals, will be published later in the year with Kelsay Books.


We used to light a thousand candles.

Tall thin cylinders stood—

Stilts on the mantelpiece.

Bags of cheap tea lights 

On every free surface.

They sat on cabinets— 

Choirboys on the perimeters.

We would close the curtains, 

Put the fire on—

Act as kindling.

We ate pasta with sauces so deep that

Fusilli drowned in the bowl.

Coquettishly licked our fingers.

Fingers pirouetting 360 degrees around 

The circumference of champagne flutes.

Before bed I would stay,

Blow the candles out— 

Making wishes under pretense.

Before the last was extinguished 

I would dip my fingers in, 

Feel hot wax fossilize 

Over nail and skin. 

Now I climb into bed and whisper

I’ve got a terrible headache. 


I’m embraced by this ache—

It’s nurturing me.

I’m spread on the bed but I’m not grounded.

I am a seagull flying over the beach.

Even with this pain,

The ecstatic thump of it,

I won’t notice when it goes.

It will crawl away in slow motion.

This is What Inside Feels Like

Fingertips filled with popping candy

Fizzing madly to the nail bed.

Veins and arteries filled with sherbet

Alive with sugar.


A stomach full of worms, 

Wriggling their way to the surface, fighting each other, butting heads.

Their bodies halving and quartering in the onslaught 



Plastic balls that bounce in the head

Blue, red, green, spotted, striped

Onomatopoeic bangs and booms.


Outside of skin there is busy.

Over-and-over busy.

This and:

Candy still popping,

Sherbet still sugary,

Balls still bouncing, 

Silence screams inside. 

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