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époque press
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Clara McShane
Poetry

Withdrawing

On glummer Tuesday evenings

I sketch you,

mottled pages of my marbled trinket notebook

filling in the hazy contours of your face.

Sometimes, my crude pencilling widens

the gulf between your eyes and nose,

(it’s like that, with drawing)

and I force a brilliant laugh, or two,

painting the pretence

of a purposeful impressionist.

I draw your hands behind your back, at times,

or not at all.

Drawn hands look sausage-like, to me,

cartoonish and scrawly,

and simplistic, given that you are real, now

to something.

Six weeks ago, you removed me

from your virtual darkroom of developments

of living sketches glowing in screaming red.

I sketch you, still, erasing the tiny twisted lines

that jolt from my wicked pencil,

summoning your homely eyes,

digging pensive holes into the brittle paper,

alternating my hands with yours.

On Wednesdays, I pass the grimy orange bus-stop

and count inanimately

collecting, with each step, a store of solid sketches,

sleeping trees, cars,

things without hands,

to draw closely behind you.

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Clara McShane is an emerging writer from Dublin with a BA in Psychology. She has been writing for most of her life, and finds a sense of peace and balance from engaging with poetry and prose. Her poetry has been published in The Caterpillar Magazine and A New Ulster.

Of the poem featured here, Clara states:

‘This poem explores the difficult process of withdrawal from a relationship, romantic or otherwise. Remembering the person as they were can often be compromised by painful emotions, time, and cognitive biases. Often, remembering clearly is too painful for us, and a warped sketch of who they were provides us with a strange sense of comfort. The narrator sketches the subject without hands, oscillating between wanting to remove their human complexity and scrambling to preserve it.’