‘You do not answer’ by Freya Jackson

You do not answer


Dear Isabel,

I have a motion much imports your good;

– William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure


And my throat

Turns the same translucent

Red as the


Sellotape: Mother’s Day,

My offering – some

Misshapen clay pot painted

Vermilion. The colour



Orange in its vibrancy.

A press-painted

Reflection transferred

Wet onto the paper

My unwashed fingers


Themselves in the


Tacky after-shape moulded

Into the red; my love


Visible even from the

Outside and now


Time stretches

Almost to the point of

Breaking and you, still, are silent.

You do not say yes

Or no.


A answer of one

Kind or another is inevitable,

There is a script

To these things; we

Cannot stop or



To the ordinariness

Of living. On my knees,

Awkwardly smiling,

I recollect that pot,


Your smile as

Fixed as my mother’s

While you regard

My earnest offering;

In your eyes

The object

Is transformed


To monument, a signpost

Pointing back 


But I meant it to be

An open road – I 

Wanted to give you

The exact 


More you

Always hungered for.


Early into our

Romance you bit

Into my ear all I want is

More than this


And all I wanted

Was to provide, my body

Gave way to the 

Side of you

Like a paper doll;

You clear your throat, my



Ache but we remain

Committed to

Our tableau: I gave

You everything. No,


That’s not true, I gave

You myself,

I gave it to you 

Always, in every glance.


Today, I came

To you,

Our love like

An animal the moment

Before death:


Ungutted, clean,

Heart beating – dialectically 

Alive. Today


I came to you.



Freya Jackson is from Leeds. She has previously been published in Writing MapsMatrix MagazineHapex and the Scarlet Leaf Review. She won the ‘Turing’s World’ short story award (England) in 2013, was a finalist for the 2015 Princemere Poetry Prize and was Highly Commended for the Binnacle Ultra Short Competition 2016.



Image credit: papadont

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