I know how to be a beetle stranded on its back,

a moth pinned flat inside a frame, a wildflower

pressed between the pages of a book, a petroglyph,

a fragment of my former self, a rock, a photograph.


I know how to fall and not get up, to live a horizontal

life, a puppet whose strings are cut. I know

the way thoughts circle like vampire bats when

you can’t escape, how pain waits at the door


cracking her knuckles, trying to creep in. How

to survive with only windows and memories.

How to weave a world inside this one

and live in it. How to peel back


the layers of myself

until there’s nothing left

but sunlight

and empty





The butterflies have found me


in the starless womb

of the dark,

unleashing their colours

like petals


on updraughts

from a thousand

types of flowers,

bringing scents of summer,


from the oceans

of the world,

whisperings of wings

which hang

for a moment

in mid air

then settle

into bright

strings of pearls,

ink flowing

on a page,






Lucy Whitehead has a BA (hons) in Archaeology and Anthropology and an MA in History of Art and Archaeology (of Central and Southeast Asia). She has worked in academic publishing for most of her adult life, and also as an archaeologist, art journalist, and illustrator amongst other things. She writes haiku, haibun, and poetry. Her haiku are widely published in various international haiku journals and anthologies. Her poetry is published in Twist in Time Literary Magazine and Barren Magazine.    Twitter

Photo credit: stephanie roberts  Twitter  Instagram  SoundCloud