Zelda Chappel

the poet

Zelda Chappel's first collection, The Girl in the Dog-tooth Coat, was published by Bare Fiction Press in 2015. Her work has also appeared in a number of journals, anthologies and collaborative projects online and in print. Formerly the Editorial Curator of the now defunct Elbow Room mixed arts journal, Zelda continues to work as a creative mentor and workshop facilitator. She won the National Poetry Library's Battered Moons in 2014, and has been commended in a number of other competitions.

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the poems

PTSD season

00:00 / 00:42

It is at the most inopportune of moments 
I am caught remembering the pressures
of lip on lip & needing the salt of something
to savour it, remembering there is a sea
& it is ravenous for gritty light & bare
skinned sky, all vulnerable & daring
it’s delicious & blasphemous to think of
what I wasn’t, what it was, what failures
I wore instead of you I was sinking
still gladly taking on water, unknowing

This time of year

00:00 / 00:50

they’re out pushing leaflets through the doors again

asking if we left our baby at St Peters        if we know who did 
and it gets me every time

I want to confess
I left my baby in a chapel too      once
                                                        but she had already left me

on Skype we joke about time travel          me six hours ahead and you 
ask for no spoilers

so I tell you a have a new desk plant        that I called her Callie 
that there’s a delay on the line        
                                                          and I can hear myself 
                                                          and it’s strange

I ask if you’re coming back soon             you don’t know
your aunt survives another season and no one thought she would

Bad air

00:00 / 01:07

and it was in this place I got caught growing light-sick
weed’s damp smell a bitter vexation, sweet

urine stench a warning in the alley we take every time
this is the beginning of the line and the end

and the light is tight as a lime, under-grown between 
my lives, bad air is a grievance I can’t settle

this is the beginning of the line and the end and I mutter
our griefs constantly, solitude a scream in a fist

kept closed, the beginning of the line, the end and water
absorbs everything or simply unmakes


what we made beginning, the line, the end is tether   
and death gets proved in our kneading

so hard I am breaking, breaking     this beginning, end

Publishing credits

PTSD season: exclusive first publication by iamb

This time of year: The Interpreter's House (Issue 72)

Bad air: Luminous, Defiant (Listen Softly Press)

© original authors 2020

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