Chapped Lips

They say that if you shrink the world down to the size of an egg,

Then it’s surface is smoother than a brand new snooker ball.

The godly peaks of Everest and Olympus,

The sunken depths of the Mariana Trench,

Or the towering structures of man,

Are all insignificant,

Unnoticeable despite their majesty.

Just as every crater, canyon, and mountain fades beneath scale,

So too do the cracks and gaps in red lips that are chapped.

In the cosmic scale of souls adrift in the universe,

The lines of your lips go unnoticed,

Behind the interlocking of soft sweetness that is your kiss.

But then beyond the infinite is more,

Your lips planets of their own,

Each ripe with wonders to explore.

Those chaps are maps of hidden places,

Pathways through the Goblin King’s Labyrinth,

And journeys across mountains of mist.

They draw me in, gateways to the soul,

Every strip of peeling skin a mark of life lived

Like wrinkles, laugh-lines, and scars.

So call me Columbus setting sail for new lands,

Your body a temple that calls to me.

I’ll let my heart lead as we entwine hands,

And forget the ups and downs of this insignificant world.

For nothing could ever eclipse,

A kiss from your chapped lips.

A Voice Through the Wires.

Do you remember when we used to talk?

Real talk. Talk with sound.

Vocalisations from our heart and through our lips

That crossed the distance between us no matter the miles

So far apart yet bound together

Tethered by coiled wires that we twirled dreamily between our fingers

Each curl and swirl reflecting the giddy loops of our heartbeat

As we laughed and traded secrets 

In those quiet moments we could snatch

Like thieves in the night while parents slept.

Even now, I hear your voice,

The memory trudging up a smile,

Or occasionally the ghost of a shiver down my spine.

Your breath in my ear,

Like whispers of what could be.


We still talk now, I guess.

Idle words through the ether

That materialise before us on glowing screens

But the electrical warmth is no match for the warmth of your voice.

These words now slide from thumb to glass 

Rather than from those soft lips that smiled

Yet, at the tap of a finger we could reconnect,

A light brush of that imitation green receiver

An icon of that plastic crescent I held so tight

Because I couldn’t hold you.

But now, not only distance separates us, but life

Different turns in different roads

As we shed the fragments of our childhood selves

Until little of those lovesick dreamers remained

And our hearts hardened with the years.


Still, each pinged message summons your face in my mind

And the photos you post for the world fill my screens.

I see you more, know more than ever before

But somehow it all seems hollow without that static buzz

That once was the backdrop to every word. 

Somehow, that old, yellowed phone had stripped us,

Undressing our struggles and hangups until only our souls remained

Meeting somewhere in that tangle of wires 

Our private haven where only we existed

Without anything but our truest selves

That the rest of the world could never see. 


My finger hovers over the call sign now

And you are but a tap away,

But why?

Why would I call you? It isn’t like the old days.

A call is an event, especially out of the blue.

Would your voice still sound the same?

Mine certainly doesn’t. Would I interrupt the new life you live?

The life you built where I’m just one of many sets of words on a screen?

And how would I stay calm without that blessed wire to fidget away anxiety?


Maybe we, like those old phones, are a relic of the past.

The coil that bound us has gone wireless, severing us,

Setting us adrift. Setting us free. 

Or, perhaps there is still a chance.

I desperately want to hear your voice again,

So I breathe,

And bring my finger down as though to reach through the glass to you,

Searching in hope that your hand is reaching out too,

As the first rings sound.

Will you even answer?