The Map of Us

selected poems by Lori England



The Map of Us


10 years and I am

still learning the lines of you,

still mapping you with my mouth,

still tracing your continents with heavy hands.


I had lost the urgency,

forgotten what wanting truly was

the ache of it,

the ragged

                 rise and fall

of my own breath, on my own breast,

of your quiet words exhaled into my ear.


Now, it has come again -

as certain as the tide on the coastline.





I undo you with my tongue;

let the tenderness trickle-

tasting ticklish thoughts

straight from your temples.


I undo you with my tongue;

tasting salt-sweat on long

distance landscapes, lips

to legs, a cartographer's kiss


I undo you with my tongue;

carve slices with my cutlass,

let the wounds roll around my

mouth, thick and twisted.


I undo you with my tongue;

words are my worst weapon,

and I brandish my blade

with practiced dexterity.


I undo me with my tongue;

let riotous rambles pour forth

without filter - it’s spit that sticks,

the salt-spray of the sea.



The Essentials


I watch the world end,

at least the one I know

From the edge of the exclusion zone

Safe, they say,

with the authority of ashes.

I wait for my skin to be stripped,

my eyes to dry, my bones to crumble from within.

When will I turn to dust?

Will the flesh be flayed from my bones,

like it was from yours?


My existence an accident of geography.


I felt the world end,

when you left.

Apocalypse imminent.

I had no choice but to crawl homeward

to my childhood bedroom,

with my sun damaged teenage dreams

still Blu-Tacked to the wall.

Except now with a life bursting to get out of

my taut drum of a stomach,

there’s no escape to the coast with smuggled Silk Cut;

just four small walls that stink of failure


Still, I survive.


Wind still blows my hair back and I still have flesh on my bones.

Our daughter still laughs,

as I trace my fingers along her face

strapped tight to me, as I sweep the abandoned supermarket

for the essentials. 


Lori England


Lori England

Lori England is a writer and poet from Glasgow, Scotland. Her work has been published in Pankhearst’s Fresh column, by Crab Fat Magazine and was shortlisted for the 2015 Bold Types creative writing competition. She is currently juggling studying English Literature and Creative Writing at the Open University with bringing up her own tiny girl gang. You can find out more about her work at, and follow her on Twitter & Instagram.