Her face scrunched into bewilderment, but loosened itself, and a easy laug escaped from her throat – a tinkling sort of giggle, like when you accidentally hit chipped glasses against one another. She blew smoke into my spluttering face. My question must seem ludicrous to her, I thought; and my palms started to sweat in response.

Her hair, a crisp, strawberry blonde, seemed to be glued to her scalp, the strands barely moving in the slight breeze. She was dressed very simply, with stretches of pure flesh on show. The straps of her red camisole dipped their crimson vines into slightly burned skin, brushing against it with the sort of practiced demureness that often threatens to make naivety extinct. I shuddered.  Her arms moved as she drew the cigarette away from her equally tacky lips, inducing a sea of goose pimples that broke onto the marble of the badly peeling bark. I winced.

From where I was standing, I could see the flecks of dead skin emerge from her bad suntan. Like the shells of albino mealworm pupae, I thought. They come out from their chrysalis,
all bottle-black and ready to rumble.

Then my mind flashed back to the latest movie; to one of the more memorable female characters. Like Harley Quinn, but actually only a quarter badass.

Then she spoke.

“Remember – the more vivid the tattoos, the more promises these people have broken.”


Her eyes started to roll, but she shifted her gaze towards the dying potted plants. “It’s alright, sonny. You don’t have to crack your head over what I said.”

Then a brazen thought quivered in its skin; and floated, a disembodied shroud of green, to my brain, distinct and fully-formed from the remains of the broken porcelain that lay crushed under the boot of Harley Quinn’s patent leather boots. A wide, scarlet grin displayed itself on her heart-shaped face, proud and unyielding, to any man or creature whatsoever. Then, jumping from the cerebral lily pads of grey, she landed on my tongue nimbly – all ready to be asked; to be spat forward in response, where she would take her wooden bat and crush someone’s brain into a mushy pulp.

“What if I got tattooed in place of somebody else?”

She froze, her head resembling a wind vane, scarlet tipped with a proud cockerel crowning the apex, slowly tilting to the south. I bit my lip, looking down at my scuffed shoes. One of them had a big splotch of mud on the heel of the shoe,  a grubby result from yesterday’s hectic schedule.

Then she sighed.

“Trust me – you don’t want to do that.”

© Zelda Reville





Air, sucking in
rosy cheeks
cigarette smoke –

thin slices
of nicotine
shaved off,

the blades of sirocco
that gleam
at the quick.


Blue undulates
over criss-crossed

that lighten
and darken:

negative signals
pressed onto
fluorescent screens,

sans the
creepy-crawly hand
to bring back
Friday the 13th.


Crickets thrill
as she tucks away
into the hollows of her
duvet-drenched abode,

tiny ice picks
that dig

by shoving
the sharpened points

into the glacier’s heart
of the deep night.

© Zelda Reville



Respite rests:
seen, known,
in warmed honey –

but more pleasure;
as we know,

is derived
from angry welts
that will rise
from these ants’
cookie cutter bites.

Shun warm cocoa;
outstretched arms,
shrug off blankets

as your fingers curl
the snapped javelin –

But before
you proceed,
I should ask:

what on earth
will that quivering dart
offer its wasted life to?

© Zelda Reville

Catkins: An Aesthetic Discourse


White Persian cat
sitting on a leek cliff –

on its head,
perfectly perched:

the marvellously jaunty
Acorn Hat.

Behold –
that 60 degree
angle of style;

the fantastic shade
of sickly green –

such is the season
for health goths.



Or a pale green Penguin,
with head and beak
a shade of bitter coffee

where it looks on
at the neverending sea,
daubs of scarlet dancing;

pondering on where
the fish are to be found
in this global atrocity
of carbon dioxide and honey.

© Zelda Reville


That Man Had A Really Weird Sunhat On

of daylight
seep through
cracks of concrete

and dandelions
peek through
remains of
shipwrecked poles,

stretching their arms
as Mrs. Wind carries
the tufted kids off
to graduation school.

The summer heat;
unrelenting, teases
exposed necklines

with slobbery kisses

that run down
stretched clavicles
and burnt skin,

trickling right into
outstretched hands
warm lemonade.

© Zelda Reville