Fomo by Olga Dermott-Bond


They clatter back in high heels, short skirts, espresso dregs of eye makeup,
knock up fried egg sandwiches, spill milk; leaving me clinging
to their curdling sticky smell upstairs in my cardboard room.

They steal all the screenwash from my car and make cocktails with it,
keeping the little umbrella sticks to slide beneath my eyelids
every splintered night, so that tissued darkness dances itself ragged.

They play ceilingless music that pulsates its ways into my muted
dreams of attrition. When I crawl past the edge of sleep they
push me off staggering cliffs and don’t tell me how to fly.

They rip open the last teabag in the box so when I drink it,
the morning after, they leak sagging soil into my mouth while their
sun creeps like a closed headache around edges of curtains.

They leave, intrepid alleycats, banging the door too loudly
behind them. I listen to their orgasms of laughter convulse down the street.
They linger under my skin as I wash up their dead plates.

Olga is originally from Northern Ireland and studied English Literature at the University of St Andrews. A former Warwick Poet Laureate, she has had poetry and flash fiction published in a range of magazines including Rattle Magazine, Magma, Strix, Cordite Review, Under the Radar, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House and Paper Swans. Two of her poems are included in the Smith/Doorstop’s anthology The Result is What You See Today: Poems about Running. She was the winner of the BBC Proms poetry competition in 2019 and is a commissioned artist for Coventry City of Culture 2021. You can listen to her poetry on the podcast Bedtime Stories for the End of the World, episode 2. She is a teacher and has two daughters.

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