Burning

Rochelle Roberts

The forest, large-eyed, dank and disordered. 
Leaves billowing, wanting something like
lungs to open up and breathe. They scream
tragedies as I walk away from the path into 
the dark teeth of trees, taste burning, smoke
rising, mystical, in the shape of ghosts. My
shadow holds my body, the air like grit 
between the branches. I touch tree trunks and 
they leave a violent stain, the sky deep-charred.

I want to go home, my clothes encrusted
in dust, but the trees are haunted, damaged 
by what they were given by people like me.
They fold in around me, rooting me in the 
earth, the burning rising in my chest, black 
ash pouring from my mouth, filled up with 
regret, doing to me what I did to them.


Rochelle Roberts is a writer based in London. Her work has been previously published, or is forthcoming with Visual VerseMerak magazine, Streetcake magazine, Eye Flash Poetry and blood orange. In 2019 she was shortlisted for Streetcake magazine’s Experimental Writing Prize. By day, she works as Assistant Editor for the art publisher Lund Humphries.
Find her at on instagram @rocheller and twitter @rochellerart.