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Image by Annie Spratt


the madrigal, volume ii

The Breath Not Taken

by sarah wallis

We are brought back to death,

we that have been so far removed

from it, we have forgotten how it

can happen so easily, the fragile

casing, broken, all that can go

wrong, the one breath,

not brethynge,

not taken,

the lungs

and lights

not stirred

the body




in a moment,

and yet, still, we fail

to believe in that moment.

The Death Mask of Keats,

a beautiful man, looks as if he

is merely held in light, asleep,

and sleeping peaceful slumber.

My father did not look asleep,

he was cold and gone, where in life

his quick wit and movements – V signs

flicked and that devilish smile - devastated,


and he’s been gone for quite a while.

Sarah Wallis is a poet and playwright based in Scotland, UK. Recent work is at Trampset, Lunate and Abridged (Nyx issue) online and in print journals Finished Creatures (Stranger issue) and The Alchemy Spoon (Metal issue). A chapbook, Medusa Retold, is available from @fly_press and she tweets @wordweave.

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