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  • Writer's pictureKayleigh Willis

'The Darkening' by Lizzy Barmak

When the darkening encroached

it was neither veil nor shadow

but a viscous tar bleeding from the core of you,

an internal, eternal pitch blackness

to which your eyes could not adjust.

In your eyes the agony of your existence

made me look away, and yet I felt

if I could hold your gaze for long enough

I would find the answers

to all the mysteries in the cosmos.

But your words no longer made sense

- not to those outside the oubliette -

you spoke of embryos,

asked with wide-eyed innocence,

‘Are you real?’

Like a marionette with only one string

you couldn’t keep upright,

let alone find your way

out of the cryptic tunnels

of your apocalyptic anguish.

Occasionally you’d surface

from the possession;

you’d cry very real tears

but in your fear and trembling

you remained unreachable -

in your perpetual nightmare

were we all demons in the dark?

Copyright. Lizzy Barmak.

Lizzy Barmak instinctively turned to writing poetry to help her process and express her grief over her wild and enigmatic brother's suicide. The Darkening was the first poem she wrote as part of a themed collection, which was longlisted for the Cinnamon Press poetry pamphlet prize. She is now in the throes of writing a novella; writing helps give her the enthusiasm she needs to get up in the morning - that and a good, strong cup of coffee and a pastry.

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"Like a marionette with only one string"... love that line!

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