Coal to Burn the World–Natascha Graham

I do not belong here.
I, do not belong
Belly down against flat earth I,
Splinter like sheet glass
beneath boots that crack my spine

     I. Do not belong.
I, a feather bed to my own head
My Own, very particular kind of madness
Lying here, on the ground
Life in my teeth, my mouth, my tongue

But still, I breathe
Still not choked after
All these
All these
All of these


One, after the other, after the next, after the next

Life. I see it now, stretched too thin with a punctured eye and I see it
How the weeping willow would watch the river bed should I drown
belly up, this time
Eyes like sea glass
Mouth like a fish

Try them all,
Try them all,
These ways to sink a ship, to skin a cat, to catch a mouse

To break a heart

Sink me, rock bottom,
Drown me, slowly,
Take the coins from my mind’s eye and sell my universe for coal to burn the world


But still, I will breathe
Because, I
Do not belong.

Influenced by David Bowie, Virginia Woolf and Sally Wainwright, Natascha Graham is a lesbian writer of stage, screen, fiction, poetry and radio from the UK. Her novel, Everland has been selected for the Penguin and Random House WriteNow 2021 Editorial Programme, and her short films have been selected by Pinewood Studios & Lift-Off Sessions, Cannes Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival, Camden Fringe Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival, while her theatre shows have been performed in London’s West End and on Broadway, where she won the award for Best Monologue. Natascha is also working on The Art of Almost, a lesbian comedy-drama radio series as well as writing a television drama series and the sequel to her novel, Everland. She is also Co-Editor In Chief of Tipping the Scales Literary& Arts Journal and Co-Host of The Sapphic Lounge podcast.