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Solitariness Walks with Memory

I realise that I am small
mostly when I am walking alone
beneath the trees. They stretch to heights
so far above my head that the rim of my glasses
cuts off the pinpricks of light at the top.
I know that small does not always mean insignificant.
These days I try not to count all the ways
the shaded afternoons fade
faster than the time it takes
to slip on socks, shoes, and self-assuredness,
and step out of the house. I know that
time does not wait, but the slowness of the leaves
suggests otherwise. I wonder how long it takes
for a tree to become overgrown, how long
it takes for history to resurface.

I am present as the past arrives,
and the streets are scattered
with fragments: I wander through the underpass
of an accidental meeting,
then walk past the remnants of
idle chatter in a nighttime playground.
The quiet confession sits
on the corner next to the
seven-year-old crocodile tears before the class trip,
jostling the spontaneous karaoke night,
the forgotten doctor’s appointment,
the first realisation that adulthood
does not always come with answers.
The dispersing of the crowd tells me
I no longer know which face I am looking for,
but I keep walking.


Claire Ion is a British-Korean writer and editor who currently studies English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford. Her poetry and fictional work have previously been published in The Isis magazine, among others. You can find her at and on Twitter @clehdbeh.

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