Action is the best antidote to despair – “UNEARTHED”, James Bradley,

When I opened my mouth to describe to her
the glacial mire of my mind,
an iceberg fell out,
sat there
stubbornly melting
in the middle of my counsellor’s box room.

Her pursed lips loosened;
eyebrows rose like a tide.
Hold it like an inner child, she suggested
pointing with the tip of her pen.
I leaned in from the fold-out sofa-bed
with the kind of tentative hug
you’d give at an office party
you weren’t invited to
while clocks ticked deadlines on both walls
and the patterns of lost continents
surfaced in drips on my shirt
until, having claimed surface area,
the water crawled up the shorelines of the room,
passed marks of a child’s growth on the doorframe
reading Venice, Amsterdam, London, New York.
We laughed about 90’s disaster movies
like we weren’t in one.

Her smile fell to rest like dust and I wondered,
do counsellors get CPD for stuff like this?
How safe can she make this space, really?
Is it triggering to know it’s not just the world inside my head that’s on fire anymore?
Can she hear the whipping permafrost crack,
gun-slinging across the room as well?
Does she smell the same billowing popping candy of forest fires snap from downstairs?
Is she woken to the harmonium drone of bulldozers marching in the street,
like tinnitus.

Seems somethings are meant to thaw,
others not
while all that’s frozen,
seems it’ll never melt

until it does.

Pushcart nominee Ciarán Hodgers is a multi-award-winning Irish poet based in Liverpool. His debut collection Cosmocartography(Burning Eye Books) toured the UK & Ireland, featuring on major broadcast outlets on both sides of the pond. Named “one of the region’s most exciting spoken word performers” by The Independent and “a powerhouse poet at the top of his game” by Lingo Festival Dublin, he has been published internationally. He is interested in the relationship between ecology, language, culture, and spirituality. You can find out more here: