HCE received a lot of high-quality submissions for The Green Issue – sadly, too many to fit inside the magazine! So we offered some shortlisted writers and artists the chance to be published here on the website. Keep an eye on our social media for more great work like this, in the run-up to the release of The Green Issue…
E. R. Murray
‘Freedom lies in the colour green,’ you say. I’m wearing my red coat to impress
but if you notice, you don’t say. Freedom. Equals. Green. Obvious as grass
and just as overlooked. Stamp on it, cut it down, stuff it in hungry mouths;
that’s the price you pay, apparently (if anyone can ever fully claim it). You point
out a daisy stem, say ‘see how it stretches and strives?’ I’d only noticed the petals,
for pulling and telling love’s fortune. Always ending on a negative. You laugh,
call me innocent, but can’t you hear stories in my silence? Silence is green too;
translucent as sea glass, tossed, shiny, awaiting curious fingers and treasure
hunter’s eyes. We walk barefoot on park lawns where we’re not meant to. You talk
boundaries (or lack of), how the free are always rich in life, if not money, as though
a prize you can offer, if I’m worthy. I stare through your freedom-hued eyes, see
only my mother’s striving. She accepted an emerald ring, once. Regretted it ever-after
in debts and beatings. My father had promised her freedom too. In cut crystal glasses.
Soft leather handbags. An ivy-covered home. Children (sickly). Have you ever noticed
how bruises fade to sage? You’re a brilliant bottle green you say, as I fidget in vibrant
red. You lead the way, still blustering, no clue how close you came. Your words mush
like peas. A squally toad, all air. Outwards, I stay hushed. Flinching, resist your hand.
My glass-deep core sings keenly – no need for daisy portents. Next time you see me
I’ll wear this red coat, and I’ll hurry on by. Your eyes no more than dulled marbles.
Elizabeth Rose Murray writes for children, young adults, and adult audiences. Her books include the award-winning Nine Lives Trilogy and Caramel Hearts. Recent anthology and journal publications include The Elysian: Creative Responses, Reading the Future, Autonomy, Popshots, Terrain, Tiny Essays, and Banshee. She lives in West Cork, Ireland. You can find Murray’s website here or follow her on Twitter (@ERMurray) and Facebook.