Arden Hunter


Most of us are the spaces between the words

in the great tomes of history textbooks.

I used to think it was only me

who had fallen down a chasm between paragraphs;

thought that this genderless thing with no use for love

was the only one who clung to the tails of gs,

got impaled on the spikes of ys.

Then teachers, the real ones, the ones not in school

showed me how many more were missing:

my friend wasn’t there because of her skin,

my aunt wasn’t there because she loves shes,

and he wasn’t there because his people

had lived in a place before all others

and died

before anyone could write of them.

We sit in the spaces, look up at the words

and we must be in shadow -

the great pairs of eyes that sweep across pages

don’t see us lurking below.

They don’t see us reaching but sliding off As

or hear our call:

look down, look through.

I can fake my way into their taught texts,

pass for what’s worthy of study:

it creates resentful gratitude.

But prick at my skin and look underneath

and I’m no more a fit for these words;

thrown off the edge of an overhanging sentence

to be buried alive under footnotes.

So tell me this then:

if we are so many

(who lay on the parchment,

who flounder in hard drives,

get squeezed under type)

then who is reading this history?

Who is left?

I can guess, oh yes,

I can guess.

There is nominal care now that all we are missing:

sending prayers, sending thoughts. Here’s one paragraph, see?

We should be content with the spillage of ink

they allow us to daub with our fingers and feet,

write our lines ‘round the passages

so neat, true and proper-


we are coming.

The keys being hit

with anger and sorrow and beautiful truths.

Their spines will be broken,

their covers all split

as we push type aside and say:

I was here;

I was there.

Someone like me

lived my life.

The history books will be full of free verse

and all the songs that they silenced.

Beautiful hearts,

subjected languages,

true names on maps,

and me.

Arden Hunter is an aroace agender writer, artist and performer. They enjoy creating art around themes of identity, what makes a human ‘human’, and how we all relate to the world.

Twitter @hunterarden