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Lonely - Jo Matthews

You’re lying close enough that

your eyes are black liquid stars and

I can count the constellations of

new sugar freckles on your skin

and taste your breath in mine.

And you tell me that you’re lonely

not lonely alone, but something deeper

and more tangled that took you under,

and you wonder if it might soften if

you were surrounded by people

calling your name, or if you could

taste the salt of your mum’s gyoza

again, or if your phone blinked back

more messages of assent, or if this yawn

of empty feeling could be stuffed shut

with stuff. You’re close enough that you

can feel my heart beat back

and see in my eyes that I am lonely too

and roughly reflected there you see that

as sure as we have eyes to shine and

skin to freckle and breath to breathe we

will forever get lost in our loneliness

wandering tightly together, always alone

until we find where we know is home.


Originally from Oxford (UK) Jo Matthews is a freelance writer and copywriter living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her poetry and writings have appeared in Popshot magazine, Acumen, Fish Anthology, Prairie Fire, The Rappahannock Review, and The Times (UK), among others. She was recently selected by Arvon as a winner of their 5-day Poetry Challenge and shortlisted for the Creative Ink Poetry Prize 2023. She has completed workshops and courses with Breadloaf (USA), Arvon (UK) and the International Writers Collective (Netherlands). She is mum to two small daughters, who are simultaneously keeping her young and ageing her rapidly. GENRE: Poetry

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