Counsellor and occasional musician Grace Uitterdijk from Northern Ireland enjoys writing poetry and short stories as a creative outlet. Her inspiration stems from a love of trees, the sea and all things wild. She's also interested in the lives of those she meets through her counselling work. Published in A New Ulster and Bent Ear Review, Grace loves to swing in her hammock, drink tea and read when she's not exploring Ireland's natural beauty.
In the middle of her
‘Dieu est au milieu d’elle: elle n’est pas étranlée…’
God is in the middle of her, she will not be moved
If I cut myself in half what would I find?
What’s in the middle of me?
Would it be a treacle sadness puddling round my feet?
Or maybe I have a ball of glass in there.
Hard, smooth, breakable.
Would it be cosy in there?
Could I cuddle up beside my heart or would it turn its back?
What would it feel like to sit inside myself?
Would it be like crawling into a hollow tree?
Dark and wet and alive.
A womb of sorts.
Would it be comfortable?
If I could pull back my skin and let my heart fall into my hands,
would it just be a throbbing organ
or would I really see God there?
Funny how that verse uses the pronoun ‘her’.
God is in her. Not you, not me. Her.
I would like to find her.
If I did, I would run up to her and take her hands in mine
And look in her eyes and shout, ‘Do you know what is in the middle of you?
Do you know? Look, it’s God! Right there in the middle of you.’
Maybe she wouldn’t believe me.
Maybe she’d turn her head, avert her eyes embarrassed by my spectacle.
Maybe she would miss God because she didn’t even look.
I would still tell her.
Who knows when curiosity might catch her looking.
Are you the man you dreamed you’d be?
That’s a line from a song my friend wrote and that night it was floating round
my head like it had nowhere else to go.
I was driving home with loneliness in the passenger seat, and I remember
thinking this feels like déjà vu, am I just stuck on repeat?
The country roads were quiet, it was just a random night.
Who knew space could ever feel this tight.
Tears are a sort of currency but that night I didn’t know what I was buying.
Maybe the desire to live even if just to do more dying.
I had to stop in a car park, the tears were clouding my vision.
Alone in a car in an empty space
I was that space
So empty I could just be replaced.
For some reason I shouted ‘fuck off’ to a God I wasn’t even sure was real.
I felt like my layers of skin were peeled to reveal the shreds of my humanity.
Blood and water, water and blood.
Is that all I am? Water and blood?
I thought you promised there wouldn’t be another flood but what if every day
is a flood and I am not the one being saved.
Maybe I am just enslaved to this loneliness that follows me.
Maybe my whole life is just one long damn fight to be free.
If I’m not alone then why do I feel so fucking alone?
When the noise is gone I sit there in the car park in the dark no longer
even sure if I have a watermark to distinguish me from all the other
lonely people in other car parks.
I sat there crying until all the water in my body had seeped out of my eyes.
Now I was left with blood.
Life is in the blood, not the water.
My tears had bought me one more day to live.
Maybe tomorrow I would cry blood.
I started my engine, reversed back out, drove home and got into bed.
I’m not even close to who I dreamed I’d be, but I’m alive.
In the middle of her: exclusive first publication by iamb
Empty Space / Sometimes you feel alone in your own body:
A New Ulster (Issue 99)
Sometimes you feel alone
in your own body
You are there and I am here.
One letter difference and yet
Can you see the insurmountable distance between us because I can?
People say, ‘oh we are united, humans are all one’.
Yeah, I've had moments like that, but can you not hear the story of humanity?
You are there and I am here, and here is not there.
There are two different words for it.
I'm trying to be there, with you
and yet you don't feel my nearness because the distance between
those words remain.
I'll try again.
Talk to me and I won't understand
but touch me and I'll know because touch is more visceral than words
And wrapped in my arms here and there seem a little closer together.
I know you feel alone.
I feel it when our bodies collide,
Slide to the left, away from your body, away from your pain.
You can't bear to remain because you despise being here.
It's ok; I'm alone too.
I'm learning how to be here.
I'll hold you tight until you feel safe again.
Until your body is your own, until my body is my home,
draining the distance between here and there.
Press your body against mine,
hold your head in my hands.
Maybe we are less alone when we are alone together.