by Zoe Simmons

A pale pink rose opens its petals to the sun. Photo: Lyndel Caffrey.


kissing bare legs
through my window

I ache  
I feel…


Soak up the warmth. 
Maybe it will fill me.
Energise me. 
Empower me.

Make me forget.

My stomach growls— 
I can’t get up. 

Maybe I can photosynthesise,
for I am


Only comforted by the light,
as it watches
from a safe distance
behind cobweb covered glass.

It glitters:



It speaks to me
but I can’t understand the language: 
only feel it 
and watch the patterns move;
their shapes
reflected on the wall
before my eyes.

My sanctuary,
and my prison.

At least the cobwebs are my friends;
the sun my comfort.

I stare
so foreign
so bright.

Yet so inviting

Light illuminates
a reminder
of all I haven’t done
and all I am not.

I can hear the comforting breeze,
but can’t feel it.

Breathe, it whispers
through cloudless blue skies.

Hear the birds,
feel the sun,
and know,
even though you’re empty,
everything will be alright.


Sunlight fades.

The warmth is gone.
The wind howls.
Distant traffic groans. 

The birds are further away now -.
somewhere far beyond my world.

Time passes.
The patterns have changed.
They retreat
the wall
the roof
and floor.

I lay in shadows, 
kisses from the sun.

In my mind, I am hunted. 


My thoughts eat me alive;

am I alive?

In the window
I see my reality 
reflected back

A house I haven’t cleaned, 
work neglected,
a body wasting away,
with no answers to my pain.

I stare
feeling too much
like I’m an imposter,
Like I should curl up,
hide my light, 
and slither away with the sun—
so the dark can freely roam.

Who am I to deny it?
Who am I to use my voice?

My throat tightens,
Stomach coils. 
I want to vomit. 

I chase the light—
but I am afraid. 


Fear constricts me.
I am nothing.

I isolate myself,
a protection.

Here I can hide
from anyone who might
damage me more
than I damage myself.

Without the sun,
I am
an endless void
with “potential”.

I watch it fade,
as my soul fades
with the setting sun above


A chill fills the air.
I shiver, 
and take a breath
to calm myself;
to ease my eddying thoughts: 

for better
or for worse

these are parts of me I cannot shed.

And I can’t run anymore.

Even in my melancholy, stars twinkle;
Bright; still:
guiding me through the mist—barely visible.

Shadows dance
and outside
my mind.

Even now, dragged down by darkness, I remember:

I am the sun.
And the moon. 
And the stars.

I have to keep fighting.

I speak soft words of hope,
uttered in the presence of moonlight
and quietly—
against all odds— 

I bloom. 

Zoe Simmons 

Zoe Simmons writes to make a difference. As an award-winning journalist, copywriter, author and speaker who’s been published hundreds of times around the globe, Zoe uses the raw power of storytelling to capture hearts and minds. A fierce advocate for disability, mental illness and chronic illness, Zoe speaks candidly about her experiences with fibromyalgia, undiagnosed adenomyosis, bipolar, anxiety and autism. Through her work, she aims to smash stigma, create change, and show others they’re not alone.;

Photo: A woman in a hot pink dress, lace up black boots and fishnet stockings is sitting in a wheelchair adorned with pink roses of different hues. Her shoulder- length hair is pink too, with grey-black tips. Photo by Emma Veness.

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