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Essay, Annie Mae

greenhouse greenhouse, I

am tending to the garden

of your glass oyster

On the first walk we ever took, it was late at night. I couldn't piece together the words in my head. I grasped fruitlessly at how I felt; it slipped through my fingers, thick like oil and shame. All I could offer was my stained hands, all I could say was that something was wrong.

I remember the cat. I remember the badger. I'd never seen a badger in the wild before; we stopped to watch it for a while. We crossed the bridge towards murky darkness. Those grand-looking gates. I remember walking through them for the first time. I remember where we stood, listening to music and smoking; watching the sleepy city.

After we said goodbye, I sat down to roll a cigarette. I left my water bottle on those steps and I never saw it again.

greenhouse greenhouse, I

swelter in my memory

the fragments persist

That bright orange july frustration. There was a blunt sadness like dog teeth. I wished that I could stamp my feet so hard the ground would break. I held in screams and sank lower in the bath. I craved something sharp, something I could feel properly. The bitterest lemon of bad news, or heartbreak… my heart never even broke in the end. I feel like I wanted it to. I wanted to put myself back together. I wanted something obvious.

greenhouse greenhouse, the

sun burns me through your windows

I could never hide

We walked together again in summer's infancy. It was much later than we planned- I almost got bored of waiting. We made our way into town, and I didn't admit that I was walking slower than usual. I couldn't really bear us walking next to each other, so I followed like a lost child, eyes cast down to the pavement.

Our drinks were free and tasted like nothing I'd tried before. I felt the spice slip warm down my throat. I had my sunglasses on even though my face was in the shade. Later I would wear them for most of the evening, with my hat pulled low across my forehead. It was the closest I could get to becoming invisible.

I don't really remember what we spoke about that afternoon. I felt out of place; I hoped it wasn't obvious. The table sat squarely between us and I singed under your gaze.


Annie Mae (she/her) is a chemistry student with a penchant for daydreaming, journalling, modern art, and watching films where nothing happens. She lives in England but recently spent a year in Germany, which has given her a severe case of wanderlust. You can find more of her writing on substack:


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