Abbie Neale

Abbie Neale is a writer, actor and painter, with a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Warwick University. Her poetry has appeared in The North, Abridged, Crannóg, Bath Magg, Re-Side, Cobalt, Playground Poems, Strix Magazine and Whirlagust, an anthology by Yaffle Press, and in 2019 she won the international prize in the York Mix Poetry Competition.

Read more about Abbie Neale and the York Mix Poetry Competition here.

Read ‘We saw all of it’ by Abbie Neale in Bath Magg here.

Follow Abbie Neale on Twitter and Instgram (@abbie.neale and


Abbie Neale (from Threadbare)

Pinned to the wall is a person, drawn by a child.

She has a woman’s body with soft crayon edges.

In the picture, the sun is an oval, as if someone

has thrown a Mirabelle plum into the air

and it is about to hit her. Whoever’s room this is

must be out of the house, and does not know

I am here. He told me we’d be making pancakes

and I believed him. He talked of his parents,

I thought I would meet them. But the bedrooms

are empty and he shows me them one by one.

There isn’t time to take off my glasses. I can see

the textured ceiling, like painted popcorn kernels,

and the particles of dust – tiny fibres, carpet lint,

our hair and skin floating like petals and burnt

meteorites. And I can see the end of my nose.

I wonder what would happen if I breathed

in all of it: soil and plant pollen, lead, arsenic.

I imagine it churning in my brain and stomach.

It’s on the train home that I see the blood. I smile

because that means it worked. Like packaged eggs,

cream-coloured, deep brown, pink and speckled,

we’ve learnt that we are better broken. It will hurt

for a few days he said, and in the toilet I clean

beneath my legs, delighted to have been chosen.

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