The Circle The tide is rolling in and out I allow myself this - breathe in, breathe out, breathe in and I let the petals of time unfurl I allow myself this - the seeding burst through the warm earth and I let the petals of time unfurl as I linger on the cool threshold, a moment between moments the seeding bursts through the warm earth breathe in, breathe out, breathe in as I linger on the threshold, a moment between moments the tide is rolling in and out Honesty Honesty breaches the shadows and asserts herself. Fragile, she survives winter's severe punishments, withstands the long dark. Pale, upright quiet. Honesty perseveres. She is stronger than she looks. I Am Not a Fortress I am not a fortress I do not choose to bolster my defences today I do not want to be impermeable, unmoved Let me be defenceless Let my skin be tender, vulnerable Let me be open-handed, wide-eyed Let your words take aim Let your barbs hit home Let your truth penetrate, dividing marrow and bone Let there be a grace to the pain Let there be hope in the harrowing Let there be us, eye to eye, hand to hand, heart to heart unfettered unguarded understanding Bio: Vicky Allen’s debut poetry pamphlet is “Broken Things and other tales” (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2020). She’s been published in print & online in Mslexia, Stravaig, Bonnie’s Crew, Writers Cafe and others, & in anthologies by Proost, Black Agnes Press & Dove Tales. She is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives on the south east coast of Scotland.