Julia Webb

Julia Webb

what hides inside war


your father answers the door 
wearing stockings and shorts
he wants to rip out the kitchen and bathroom
there is an elephant stampeding through the house
that no one can control
that silent killer
the thing that takes the words away
you are not sure you know how to recognize it
or if it is really there


your heart when you are in love
clangs like a halyard in the wind
someone could sail off in it 
and you would barely notice
bad thoughts about the self are carefully hidden
inside Christmas and birthday presents
or behind a beautiful view
when you are trying to sleep 
the house becomes a wasp’s nest


being overfull of food is how it starts
chronic indigestion 
that feels like a punch in the heart
your sister is barking at the moon
from between the pine trees
and your brother’s ghost is running 
through the precinct causing mayhem
he tells you he’s never felt so alive


guilt shines through the curtains
and the gulls squall in their chimney nest
you can hear your dad muttering in the next bedroom
the anticipation of bad news 
is almost as bad as its delivery
these are historic events your dad says over breakfast
you can learn a lot about the human condition
from railway magazines

JULIA WEBB has two collections with Nine Arches Press: Bird Sisters (2016) and Threat (2019). She lives in Norwich and is a poetry editor for Lighthouse. She is currently working on her third collection.