Harula Ladd

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the poet

Harula is a poet, performer and facilitator based in the South West. She is the current Exeter Slam Champion, founder of the Postal Poetry Library and loves writing on the spot poems for the public. Fascinated by the power of the imagination, she is passionate about the way creativity connects us with each other, and loves to gather writing ideas while out walking.

the poems

Skin

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is hard to put back on at a moment’s notice,

when someone knocks on your door to offer

a piece of their mother’s Christmas cake.

You wipe wetness from your cheeks, demand your skin

quickly swallow you in again and keep the hand

where the skin is cracked behind your back.

Reach out with the other to receive

perfect Christmas cake, complete

with miniature marzipan holly.

You make eye contact with this new mother,

pushed to the edge of her own skin

until she’s shining. She’s beautiful.

***

The skin you live in is tight, thin

bulging with broken that just wants

to breathe. At night you pin your skin

to the edges of your room, to the curtains,

hook it over the door handle, trap a corner

under the weight of a table leg so at least you can be free

while you sleep. When you wake skin

won’t shrink to fit. You wonder if you should give up

your free feeling dreams where skin is so big you can swim in it,

inside it, exploring it from underneath like swimming underwater

looking up at the surface not wanting to break it yet.

It’s quiet and fascinating down here.

People can’t knock on the surface of the sea.

They’d have to wade in and get wet to reach you,

so swim

swim

swim

The girl who brought the world home

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She brought the world home like an injured bird

found by the road, shrunk to 1m across

to hang safely from her ceiling

like a breathing glitter ball behind closed curtains.

She lay on the field of her carpet to watch the living world above

twirl cobwebs in miniaturized hurricanes.

That first night, she couldn’t sleep. Got up

to warm some milk and heard the oceans burst.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

The world replied,

“To shrink is no protection.

I can not give life like this.

“You deny my power, hanging

me here behind closed curtains.

I need to be!”

“But I only…”

“You don’t even know you haven’t met freedom yet.”

Forests inhaled. Exhaled.

“To live is to be willing to die.”

“Look. You are taller than me now.

Is that what you wanted?

To make me small and you big?

“In order to control something

beyond your understanding

you have to shrink it for it to make sense.

“For it to be safe. You shrink

what is vast only to grow more

of what has no importance.”

What's inside

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I roll myself out flat, squeeze

all you don’t need to know

from me and fold over seven times,

until I’m the size of an envelope. I slide in

to send myself to you.

Once sealed it’s too late to take back

bits added to me since we last met.

It’s fine. I can deny them or

cross them out before you open me.

At the weigh in the lady working

the post office counter raises an eyebrow.

“May I ask what’s inside?”

“Skin. No guts.”

I ask for second class. Gives me more time.

I land on your doormat stiff and sore.

You soak me in a bath like those teas that bloom

in a mug, and the little I’d been prepared to say

dissolves, and goes the way of the bathwater.

Once dry, I dress, all fresh and empty.

Publishing credits

S h a r e