Nicola Cayless.
Looking for light in words.

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The Hoarder

I think you take the way he says your name and 
squeeze it tight.

You roll his voice around,
his voice with the rising lilt of something he calls love
the hopeful stutter at the beginning of your name
that trips away into silence, silence that becomes a word
you don’t know how to pronounce.
You reach into the air and take those sounds,
grip them fiercely, and bring that ball to your mouth.

You swallow his voice because that way
you can keep him inside of you, even when he walks away,
even when he’s in bed with someone else. At least
when he hurts you, you can vomit up everything he said
and remember that he treasured your name.

I think you collect his shivers along his spine
and put them in empty milk bottles that you line up
on the windowsill. You hoard away the involuntary quirks
of his lips and count them when the moon is cold,
and he is out drinking, and your bed is empty.
Because then at least when he doesn’t come home,
you can tell yourself that his body is yours.

And when he hurts you for the final time
and rides off into the sunset like you’d dreamed
on a white horse with a damsel that’s not you,
you’ll tell yourself it was him all along and that you
did nothing wrong. And you didn’t, trust me,
you didn’t.

But if you’d forgotten the sound of your name on his tongue
and if you’d gathered up his eyelashes and blew them to the wind
long, long ago, perhaps you would have realised that
the world isn’t black and white,
and you can’t blame anyone
and you can blame everyone

but it won’t make you feel any better.

I have just had two pieces published in the latest edition of Ricochet Magazine. It’s completely free to read and enjoy. I’d love to hear your thoughts. xx

Gustar: to like, to please.

A el sol le gusta madrugar,
y recibir las vidas—por los árboles,
por los azulejos, por tus ojos más brillantes.
Tú floreces en la mañana. Pero, yo prefiero
la noche oscura, por tú tocar mi piel y mis labios
con tu boca suave.

A mí me encanta la corriente de la fuente.
Me recuerda a tu pelo ondulado,
el amarillo del sol. Tú brillas más claramente.
Pero, no me gusta nada la luz.
Tu puedes ver mis cicatrices de la vida,
y puedo ver que no te gusta
mi historia.

Me gustan tus brazos cerca a mi.
Me gustan tus labios en los mios.
Yo escribo poemas más tristes y patéticas,
porque no es nada comparado a mi corazón,
muy vacío.


The sun likes to rise early,
and give life—to the trees,
to the bluebirds, to your bright eyes.
You bloom in the morning. But I prefer
the dark night, for you touch my skin and my lips
with your gentle mouth.

I love the flowing of the fountain.
I remember your flowing hair,
the yellow of the sun. You shine most clearly.
But I do not like the light at all. 
You can see my scars of life.
I can see you do not like
my history.

I like your arms around me.
I like your lips on mine.
I write poems most sad and pathetic,
for it is nothing compared to my heart,

Anonymous :  How was it when you met him in person for the first time? Can you describe it? Nervous? How did it feel finally being able to hug him and kiss him?

You have no idea. I haven’t ever been asked this, so I am going on a trip down memory lane.

My dad lives in the Middle East, so I flew with Emirates from Australia. Normally, Sydney to NYC is about 21 hours, but flying via Dubai made the trip 30 hours. I could barely sleep because I was so nervous, so excited. The winds on the way in were bad, so my plane was delayed by three hours. It was odd, flying over the coast and knowing Santi was waiting for me at the airport, knowing he was standing there and I was finally so close to seeing him.

I was at the back of the plane, so I was one of the last to disembark. My baggage, too, took forever to come out, and the person in front of me at customs had an issue so that took forever as well. By the time I got to the doors that led out into JFK Airport, I was shaking, I was so nervous. I had to take a minute to breathe properly, and I finally got the courage to walk outside and see him.

And I couldn’t find him.

I was looking everywhere and walking down the walkway to try and find him. I couldn’t see him at all, I was so nervous, and a part of me wondered if he had decided not to come. I walked into the crowd and was shaking and looking everywhere. I heard someone say my name from behind me, and I turned around, and he was there, smiling, having followed me to tease me.

And I just paused for a second, and I remember the way my heart stopped and then started again in a rush. I remember the exact feeling of that grin spreading across my face. I ran at him, dragging my suitcases, and he ran towards me, and caught me.

While he lifted me into the air, we kissed, but it was very uncoordinated and we missed, so I kissed his nose a little bit.

It was very messy and very us and it makes me happy every day.

I couldn’t stop touching him for the longest time.

This is who I am right now.

I am alone, physically. I spend my nights by myself in my quiet little house with my quiet little thoughts. I spend my days waking up late and not regretting the wasted hours. I go to work and think about coming home. When I am at home, I think about going to work. I drink coffee and pick at cuticles.

I am flying overseas for two months to spend time with my boyfriend. I never meant to do this. He was supposed to come here, but legally, he can’t right now. I have dropped everything to spend Christmas with him. My parents are disapproving. I am quitting the job I like a lot after only two months. I am spending all my savings. I will have no money when I get back. I cannot bring myself to regret this.

I don’t know what sort of person this makes me. Impulsive, yes. Emotional, yes. But am I inherently foolish or inherently brave… perhaps a little of both. Some would say I am making a mistake. Some would say love is more important that anything. I agree with the latter, but maybe that doesn’t stop it being a mistake.

I don’t know anything anymore.

I am tired.

I am quite scared.

But I am very, very alone, and that is what scares me more than anything.

And so I am spending Christmas with the man I love, and the rest be fucking damned.

Hello lovelies,

I know I have not been present for a long time, and that I have no right to make a post like this. But I’m a little desperate, and it would mean a lot to me if you thought it over.

As some of you know, I have been in a Long Distance Relationship for just over a year and a half now, with someone I love very much. He lives in America, however, he is not a US citizen, and as such, he cannot currently leave the country for him to come visit me here for Christmas.

My parents live in the Middle East, and I won’t be spending Christmas with them, either. I’m hoping to go over to Connecticut to stay with my boyfriend and his family for a few months, but you see, money is an issue. 

I’m not asking for much. Whatever you might spare. You won’t see this request very often. If you’ve ever enjoyed what I’ve written, please, help a girl out.

My donate link is here.

Thank you for reading,


Think about submitting your work, whatever that might be, to our Winter Issue! x

Two pieces being published in the Linden Avenue Literary Journal. x

Hello there, lovelies,

I have recently had two poems published in the fourteenth issue of Words Dance, a publication focused on the interplay between poetry and art. It would mean a lot to me if you would be so inclined as to purchase an issue to have a look at the hundred pages of wonderful poetry and breathtaking art. It’s filled with pieces that will make you smile. 

The digital edition is $5 and can be purchased here. The print edition is $16.

Thank you, and all my love.


We made worlds how we saw them.


Kelsey Ipsen, The Dust Book