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Breath & Shadow

Summer 2022 - Vol. 19, Issue 3

"My Love Is Pure" and "Space Junk"

written by

Virginia Betts

My Love Is Pure

She has sapphire magpie wings

falling in sheets of silk;

pale as death and fragile

as a cloud dissolved in mist.

She is amber wind,

spins hypnotic whirling dance,

black as a raven in her soul

and silver-lined like heaven’s walls.

She has splintered egg-shell heart;

makes music like the gods.

She stirs the leaves; she lifts the waves;

Deep as a well; un-touched.

Always scratching at your core;

never enough; wanting more.

When she’s gone you cry her back

When she’s back, you hate her.

She will hush a lullaby,

drift you down in feather bed.

but hollow dreams are all she brings;

she’s always in your head.

Broken feather; angel wings

driven, like the slush in snow.

Nothing ever makes her go,

although she’s gone by morning.

I love her with my hollow bones;

I love her with my ragged face;

I’d give her everything I own

If she would stay this moment.

Tragic face on silver screen;

dying swan; tormented scene;

and just as swift, a peaceful dream;

she wraps you up in linen sheets.

Always scratching at your core;

Never enough; wanting more.

That’s how you know your love is pure;

And that is why you hate her.

Space Junk

I don’t know what the astronaut dreams,

does he cut the chord

and float down stream?

Does he drift away on a honey back cloud?

Does he ride the wave

of electric sound?

Will he pierce the bubble of a sharp-edged lie

With a sonar radar

In a herringbone sky?

Can he climb the ladder to a shooting star,

and spiral-snake back

for a day trip to Mars?

Will he risk colliding with the junk in space,

blinded by refracted light

distorting his face?

The only sounds he hears have already gone

rebounding back

in an echoing song.

Will he fall to earth on a stardust trail

When the pale blue dot

Begins to dilate?

Will you always travel to the end of the path

where the grass grows long,

and lights have gone out?

And as Time bends double with a heavy head,

petrol-coloured diamonds

are words unsaid.

Virginia graduated from Essex University, (UK) with a degree in literature, and later gained a postgraduate degree in teaching English. She taught English and Drama to A level for 15 years, then in 2013 she set up a tuition business ,Results Tutoring, in Ipswich. She is a passionate advocate for neuro-diversity, particularly since she is autistic, which she discovered at the age of 45. She has contributed several articles to the National Autistic Society Magazine, Spectrum, and Your Autism. She made her publishing debut in The Weird and Whatnot, (July 2019). She has also published in Acumen Literary Journal, Minerva Rising, Breath and Shadow, Pure Slush, and many others.

She recently collaborated in writing a professional theatre production, Lullaby, for Hightide Theatre Company, with the Wolsey Theatre, for which she also wrote the music and song lyrics. She is a regular guest on BBC Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex radio shows and her work has been regularly broadcast since 2020. Her collection of short stories, The Camera Obscure was published in Spring 2022.

The written word creates such a visceral sensation in Virginia; writing is her preferred method of emotional expression, and stories often come to her in dreams.

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