Living through history. Spring poetry winner.


by Cassandra Moss


Living through history, by Cassandra Moss.

I want to escape my sober thoughts

and become undone

under foreign skies.

So I drift along canals, watching

tourists overwhelm patient streets,

listening to their voices compete

and strain through air

like boiled bread in a colander.

I sit behind a group of friends

at a cafe, drinking, smoking,

eavesdropping

on their lurid stories about themselves

as my attention

shifts to purple petals

all around me,

whose colour is respiring

and impossible to describe

as a rational sensation,

as it is a ludicrous result

of light and anatomy,

miraculous

and godly.

I start to pursue a conversation

with a man I barely see anymore.

His absence is a constant presence in my head

where we always argue

and I hear him comment negatively on

one of the group in front of me’s stories,

him saying what political naivety to need

a stranger’s decency.

But halfway through the fury of my reply

I change the subject

and we start to laugh over an old in-joke

from when we were both broke shut-ins.

I walk down a narrow path behind a church,

still exhaling pungent smoke,

catching sight of three boys bragging

about the prostitutes they’ve just used,

them saying they still have some money leftover for more.

I envy the exactitude of their transaction

and try to picture three girls in the same situation,

proud of what they’ve bought,

bold in the reality of their passion.

I stop at a bridge, casting my eyes down to the rippling water,

 concentric circles peeling out

into the indivisible mass of the canal –

my mind is full and light.

I wonder about the power

of the sun behind the cloud

and if the future will reveal itself

as our star does by peaking

out and sprinkling its sweat

across water,

dirty underneath

yet glistening on top.


Cassandra Moss was born in Manchester, England. She moved to London to study English with Film at King’s College and subsequently worked in the film industry and as an ESL teacher.

After completing an MPhil in Linguistics at Trinity College Dublin she now lives and writes by the sea.

Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals, including Squawk Back, The Passage Between, Posit, Sunspot Lit, The Bangalore Review, Interpret Magazine, Goat’s Milk Magazine, Drunk Monkeys, The Write Launch, and New York Quarterly.

IG @cassandra_moss / Twitter @CassandraPMoss


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