"Look around. This is the world without you in it." (a poem for you)

poems for the sound of the sky before thunder, my third book, has been receiving so many beautiful reviews recently—from Jeremy Mifsud: “Winters’ collection is both the storm and the silver lining. It starts out well and keeps getting stronger with each poem. … In these poems, I kept finding the reasons to standing back up and fighting, amidst all the pain.”

& from Sophie Falkenheim: “Winters does with words what no one else does. Boundless, elegant, somehow sharp and soft at the same time. I like to read poetry that has a kick to it, that leaves me feeling like I’ve been hit in the ribs sometimes. This book does just that. … I for one have no idea how Winters writes these—how they write with such depth and care dedicated to each one. It is, in fact, astounding. Worth a read. Worth several reads. Worth a home on your bookshelf.”

I thought I would share a poem from the book with you, a raw & aching little piece that still makes me tear up a bit to read today. This one was originally published in Chowing Fat, BooksActually’s blog, & I so hope it gives you what you need right now. If you don’t have your copy of PSST yet, you can pick yours up right here, featuring this poem & many more.

Thank you for your kind words, my loves. They mean everything, everything.

After You

This is how we define every day:
ringing phone & car ride home & film montage slowing.

& the music stopping. & moon
we point at only to realise you are not here to wonder with us.

Yearning, we call this,
the feeling full of swallowed distance.

Something has been stuck in our throats for a very long time.
Maybe we should have seen it coming, but we were too busy

waiting for you to pick up the phone.
Pick up the phone. Please.

A cherishing of things we previously had not seen.
Look, we want to say. Look at this. But you don’t look.

The night sighs itself over our bodies.
The phones ring themselves to sleep. The music dies down.

All of the words happen here.
We want more & more of everything, even though

it will not bring us back to the nothing you found.
There are so many ways freedom translates to loneliness.

Look around. This is the world without you in it.
The film still playing but no music in the background.

Somewhere, the ringing stops. Hey, you say.

Sleep On the Floor, Dream About Me / Songs for March

I’m in Oxford at the moment surrounded by wind & smoke & the in-betweens of bright chapped skin. I’m sitting in many small coffee shops & working my way through André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name (I know, it took me forever, but it’s finally happening)—thinking of lines like we had the stars, you & I, & this is given once only—running into readers in the oddest of places, the loveliest most cerulean ways. I’m trying to hold onto what is left of this Europe trip, emblazon it into my memory, my soul, like a harmony that rests always on the tip of my tongue, never quite forgotten, thinking this happened, I was here, don’t lose this.

March’s mixtape contains the songs that have accompanied me through all these brilliant ephemeral things, proof of this, proof of me, proof of a moment, the stars given once only. I so hope you enjoy it. I love you endlessly.