Artwork by Semilore DelanoSemilore Delano

Apoptosis in biology is the death of a cell. A fragmentation of its nucleus.

One week ago today I went home to collect my gym kit and you had gone, vanished. Only “que sera sera” was written in chalk on the board; no other words, no call. Then I found your Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings, the felt fox I made you and your basket ball — presents from me.

When cells mutate they become impervious to the control of healthy tissue. They rapidly divide becoming less receptive to signals of non-malignant cells.

Last year I lost my purpose. I couldn’t hear, see or feel your advice or care. My thoughts became malignant.

1. I found your love suspicious, I deemed it was too soon.
2. I rejected intimacy to punish you.
3. I refused to meet your girls, as I thought it was a move for you to scratch your ex.
4. I spurned your mother’s jam.
5. I believed you were jealous of my affection for my Dad (I hid behind his illness as an excuse).
6. I used words to manipulate you.
7. I often resented you. Thought my lack of path, money and problems were because of you.
8. I told my friends about the coldness, but not that it was tit for tat.
9. I lambasted you for reading Claude, she was all I had left and I was too scared to share.
10. I thought you were the reason that I lost my ‘me’ and surreptitiously made you think it too.
11. I was embarrassed to introduce you to friends in case you judged their esoteric lives.
12. I hoped you would leave (because that’s all I knew).
13. I wanted to be alone (like you).

The mutation was bolting from school at 16. The mutation was using and letting myself be used. The mutation was holding my foetus and flushing it down the loo. The mutation was Factor V Leiden Homozygous. The mutation was my Mamma’s voluntary death. The mutation was my arrested reinvention. The mutation wasn’t you.

In healthy cells there are three states of each cycle: resting, interphase and cell division. It has phases of growth or renewal, which are dependent on the successful completion of the previous turn.

I like jam again, I also enjoy mincemeat. And I would die to be intimate with you. I’m training for that run. I wish I could brush your girls’ hair and could eat fruit cake with your parents, share you with my friends. I want to get lost in frosted hills and save half of my tuna and sweetcorn sandwich in case one of us slips.


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Mountain View

Poetry: To Love in Fear

I ran for 20 years but didn’t clock up any miles. My dad told me I’m scared of love. Now I’m resting and in development, anew. I couldn’t have got here without you.

Apoptosis also means a resolution or relaxation, a loosening of things.

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