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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2021 - Vol. 18, Issue 2


written by

Virginia Betts

A web waves in the warm breeze,

caught between ancient wooden struts,

indefensible, beneath an empty seat.

It splays to breaking point;

fine-knit, like a fiber-glass veil;

delicate strength resisting air.

Behind, purple bell-shaped blooms bow their heads in unison,

deferring to the weight

of a sprinkler’s misty jet,

that fans out in the shape of victory.

But it is not these shimmering droplets

that crystallize quietness;

nor the opaque haze,

as heat warps the scene into film;

it is not even the web, hanging on, precarious,

like angel-hair, suspended,

where even one breath might fracture the whole.

My quiet distils

to single drips

echoing inside a hollow barrel,

like an insistent broken tap

in a sleeping house at midnight,

incessantly filling night’s spaces

until dawn arrives again.

Virginia graduated from Essex University with a degree in Literature, and later gained a postgraduate degree in teaching English. She taught for 15 years, then set up her tuition business, Results Tutoring, where she indulges her passion for literary analysis whilst helping her students to achieve their potential. She is a passionate advocate for neuro-diversity, particularly as she is autistic herself, diagnosed late in life at the age of 43. Alongside this, she writes poetry, articles and stories, making her publishing debut in The Weird and Whatnot, with her short story, The Rented Room. Following this, her poem, An Afternoon Walk, was published in the September 2019 volume of Acumen Literary Journal. Recently, Breath and Shadow, published a memoir, (Gifted) and poem (Forest) in editions of the journal Fall 2020, and Winter 2020. Furthermore, Minerva Rising featured her poem, Dysmorphic, in the Winter Edition. A poem, Flesh and Glass, which was a semi-finalist in Sunspot Literary Journal ‘Inception’ competition, will be featured in a collection of works created during lockdown. Finally, Virginia’s debut collection of short stories, The Camera Obscure, will be published in late 2021. The written word creates a visceral sensation in Virginia; writing is her preferred method of emotional expression, and stories often come to her in dreams. Her other obsessions are swimming and violin playing. Virginia is married, with one son, aged 19.

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