Guest Poem by Sarah Hehir

Sarah Hehir is a poet and playwright from the industrial north. Her writing explores and exposes abuse of power, shifting the control of the narrative away from authority and giving voice to marginalised individuals and communities. Since winning the inaugural BBC Writer’s Prize in 2013, she has written for radio, TV and film. Her plays have been staged across London, throughout The Balkans and at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This poem is from Acumen 109.

The Poisoner’s Poison

Sleep has led me one step to the left
of lead.
A periodic transition to thallium:
softer certainly,
like freezer bread thawing.

But there’s still no stretch inside this
odourless shape.

Though they say sometimes
we live in secrets –
that maybe under the double duvet,
your legs glow with a blueish light
that flashes urgency
before settling for eternity
into a freezer’s empty memory:
its power cord cut.


Tomorrow I’ll wake to quicksilver thoughts.
Tomorrow I’ll wake up.