A poem by MAYA ABRAHAM-STEELE, which was longlisted for the Christopher Tower Poetry Competition 2014.



There is a place between asleep and awake,

Where little girls drift too at the sound of their father’s voice calling them awake in the mornings.

It can only be visited briefly.

And my mother’s cry from that morning

Remains there even now.

My visit to the place that day was brief.

Before the shouting started

And my elder brother’s possessions crashed into walls

As his tears pounded against the laminate floor.

I was ten.

The dread was flowing through my blood stream like poison.

My mother sat on the end of my bed as she told me,

among heart shaped cushions and soft toys.



There is a place between asleep and awake

Where I lie at 3am most nights when my thoughts deny my slumber.

And the house is hauntingly beautiful when you are the only one awake,

A fraction of its former self, once full of family

Now empty even when it is full.

And I miss my father the most in those hours,

Between worries about my future and silent tears about the past.

I am eighteen.

The sadness flows through my veins where the blood used to be

And I am no longer shocked at the news,

But grieving for lost years and family photos never taken

When we had the goddamn chance.