David O'Hanlon


For hours, for years I’ve stared at the floor, at the spot

or, I guess, the empty space where her eyes were fixed


in that silent moment, stopped mid-sentence,

before she started screaming.


I’m not expecting some cartoon demon,

green and horned, to stare back at me


or even some trace of- what she saw: a cloud,

an after-shape, a cut in the air through which the torments


that linger just beyond the brink of sight and set a girl 

to screaming, to weeping for hours, for the night


might enter, then escape. Just the carpet,

and that’s all there is. My vision divides, blurs, 


fixes, clears. Animals, symbols, faces are unearthed

in the lay and wear of fibres, but that’s it. I could


reach down, touch that emptiness, feel its absent surface,

but I don’t. I stay, see nothing, can’t look away.


David O’Hanlon is a writer based in Northumberland. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including And Other Poems, Dream Catcher, Spontaneity, Ariadne’s Thread, Lunar Poetry, Prole, The Ofi Press, Voicing Shadow: Singing Light, Nutshells & Nuggets and Ink Sweat & Tears, among others. These poems are from his pamphlet, art brut, available from V. Press ( http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk ) 


More of Davids poetry can be found in Elbow Room Volume 9