Guest Poem by R. A. Zafar

R A Zafar is UK writer born in the south and raised in the north with a few published poems. After years of procrastination she is finally sending more poems out into the world and working towards putting together her first collection.


Like a row of graves
the shrunken pots of paint
line the windowsill
each one sits on a pale strip
painted by you.

You asked me too many times
what shade I wanted
for our naked bedroom
all the colours looked the same.

Your favourite was eggshell white –
you said you liked the name
as much as the colour
the white matched your parched paper skin
at the end.

If you had stopped spurning mirrors
you would have seen
you would have laughed
at your matching eggshell
(I imagine you would have laughed).

Now there is no decision to make
I carry you with me wherever I go:
left pocket – paint pot,
right pocket – your compact mirror –
its glassy lid cloudy and cool
in my palm.

I open your mirror every day
I want to catch you looking back
all I capture are pockmarked walls
and hairline cracks –

I keep trying to paint over them
every single one of them
with eggshell white.