Under the table my nails press
half-moon kisses into each palm –
a prayer for strength, for strength,
for strength that never seems to come.

Crimson smiles hide secrets in my
hands so I open mine to tell you
about the jagged pavements in my
thoughts, the words that plummet
through the cracks, and how every
day crumbles at my fingertips.

Of course I want more than these tiny
morsels of happiness. Keep going.
I’ll tell you when.

But salvation is just a word by now;
a way to disturb the air. And I am neither
saved nor martyr. Just tired.

Valeria Kogan is a writer, painter, and photographer living in Hertfordshire with her cats, an abundance of plants, and growing piles of half-read books.