Apollo, probably not lost. | Flume. | some go and some stay behind. | + Snatching an hour, between writing and more writing, to make poetry. by Miriam Calleja

We are the only two walking in the rain, Apollo and I. I’m wearing a mustard-yellow raincoat; he is not. I’m licking my wounds, some clearly visible, still breathless from the fight. He finds this all the more intriguing, picks up his pace as he heads towards me, a bounce in his step, almost a recognition. It is a kind face with its own scars, one that has fought and been defeated. As we interact, he circles me, his distance decreasing. I remember that time a Turkish man asked to take my picture as I wrote in a cafe. How he invaded me with his eyes. But this is different to that. I let out a breath that has stagnated in my lungs for days. This encourages him to breach the distance. We take a photo. I disappear in it.

I see you’re facing a plot twist he says. My little laugh immediately turns to tears, distinguished from the rain by the size of the drop. He narrows his eyes, suddenly showing his age. There’s nothing to add, so we shoot the shit in silence. Until, afraid to gather moss, he slowly pads away. In my last glimpse, my lingering touch, I read Apollo, probably not lost on his collar.

His mother talks to me about the capacity to love.
Sometimes, I feel that she is fixing a stare on me
asking me, without asking me, whether I understand.
Whether I fit into one pot or another,
whether I am the filter or the conduit,
whether love flows or gushes through me, to another,
and another. I don’t know the pace of what
is required of me. I plod on, trying to form myself
into a channel, a drain, an aqueduct.
I let everything flow through my fingers.
I run my fingers through its hair,
what a vehicle, a roadmap,
an artery.

some go and some stay behind.
each time the world spins
it takes your head with it
wrings it with a new dawn

Snatching an hour, between writing and more writing, to make poetry.
Between leeks and potatoes recipes of the winter that have us opening the books of childhood have us accessing the magic of this city - Birmingham has its fair share of witches - nothing but women who know the earth and its remedies, its languages. My guttural ħ, ġ, x (shh!) the melody that is different from yours but resonates in you. Between the leaves of cabbages that we both need to place on our faces and heads for inflammation, you and I unite in our neurological pain, in the fingers that swarm books of potions and recipes, in how we want to inhabit our solitudes. We plan wholesomeness in our meals and know that life will get in the way. Food eaten with spoons. We place poetry beneath the butch pears, happy the community will receive crunch and crutch, small mercies where mushrooms grow, bars of butter coat our softness, and our edges burn everybody’s tongue. As the spouses of poets, our husbands get special respect.

Miriam Calleja is an award-winning Maltese bilingual freelance poet, nonfiction/fiction writer, ghostwriter, workshop leader, and translator. She is the author of 3 poetry collections, 2 chapbooks, and several collaborative works. Her poetry has been published in anthologies and in translation worldwide. Her latest chapbook is titled Come Closer, I Don’t Mind the Silence (BottleCap Press, 2023). Her essays and poems have appeared in platform review, Odyssey, Whale Road Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Modern Poetry in Translation, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a series of nonfiction hybrid essays. Read more on miriamcalleja.com.