by Marie Lyons (she/her)

Artwork by Shirpa Velega.

A fantastical fandangle was sighted
In an establishment devoted to the supply
of fripperies and finery
By one who had wandered off
Into the wilderness of madness

Inside her head was a map
Where no place had a name
An endless list of nowheres
She could not visit
And so she got stuck on a roundabout
Of waking, existing, sleeping, resisting
The urge to scream

She could not explain
In language plain
What it was that assailed her
Only that one day the lights grew dim
And she hadn’t been able to find the switch
Though she had searched throughout and within

Some days she roused herself enough
To go out, one foot in front of the other-
She forgot to wash her hair yesterday.
Or was it last week or last month?
It didn’t really matter.
Her coat was a bit bedraggled.
It being the one she used when she worked in the garden
But that was so long ago now
She’d forgotten

Pale and ethereal she wandered around the streets
Looking at nothing in particular
Most people didn’t see her
As she floated along her greyness
Then one day she stopped at a window
And stared at the glittering lights within
As they shone on a fantastical fandangle
The kind of thing deemed ornamental
Devoid of any particular use.
Except as a feast for the eye.
And her face lit up with the tiniest amount of joy
As it twinkled in its glorious uselessness.

Each day she returned and stood and admired and smiled
Speaking no words, her face beaming with the innocence of a child
at evening’s end

One day, when there was a little more spring in her step.
And she’d remembered to wash her hair
And she found her nice coat, which had been there
All along
And almost imperceptibly she was humming a song
She stopped, shocked, her face registering horror
The fantastical fandangle was there no longer
The window grew dim, tears squeezed from the corners
Of her eyes, head drooped
Her back stooped as she turned to shuffle home
Halting as she heard a voice calling to her
‘Wait! I have something for you!’, the shop owner said
Handing her a brightly wrapped box with a smile

Not sure how to respond, her cheeks pink
From the unexpected beam of light
Shining on her
She nodded and hurried along.

She sat at her table in silent repose
Quiet and still as a heron
Staring at the fantastical fandangle
Now illuminating her gloom
And tears flowed and flowed
As the dam opened and exposed
Her frozen soul to the heat
Of a kindly given gift
Her hands reached out to touch
The delicate beauty of this thing
Which to all intents and purposes
Had few if any uses
Except for the light which shone magically from within

Marie Lyons

Marie Lyons started writing in earnest during COVID-19 lockdown. This coincided completing a BA in Counselling and Psychotherapy which involved a lot of introspection, and her writing reflects this. Marie self-published a book of poems titled Between the Lines in 2021- the themes include memories of growing up, loss, love, and hope. Central to the book is the story of giving up her baby for adoption in the early eighties and the impact of that on the rest of her life. She continues to use writing as a way to make sense of the world.