Indigo Nights and My Other Half

by Elizabeth Gibson

Indigo nights

I was twenty-one, in my little dorm with the bay window,

when I found the Indigo Girls, danced nights away to ‘Galileo’,

‘Joking’, ‘Land of Canaan’, and when there was a fire alarm

in the early morning, I shivered outside with the other women,

but felt the change in me, that I didn’t think I could ever show.

These Indigo Girls – they were like me, loved rock and folk,

adopted many cats, and I understood every word they wrote.

Emily was jazzy and poetic, Amy was electrical and raw.

I wanted to wear what they wore – I always had wanted,

I think, but now maybe I could. I dared to try men’s shirts, 

dark boots, t-shirts and jeans. I cut my hair for the first time. 

I graduated in a bow-tie – I hadn’t wanted to graduate at all, 

but I look back at photos and see me, tall and broad in my gown,

and I walked out into the wide world feeling – almost – ready.

My other half

My other half comes out of the cold, with a cuddly 

IKEA snake around her neck and back and waist. 

She is a charmer in a jumper from a charity shop, 

has the hair that I want but don’t have the face for:

a choppy sweet bob like a dark inverted flowerhead.

She drinks tea, which I just never could get into,

but she passes on alcohol, can lull herself without it.

We play cards in the kitchen, she shows me tricks

and we murmur away the hours until we fall into bed. 

No-one comes up to our neck of the woods in winter.

She wears enormous slippers like teal chinchillas, 

plonks them in my lap. Soon it will be warm enough 

for her to go barefoot, while I am still in work shoes.

I dread the sun bleeding into this place, eyes turning 

to me and me, the fusing or losing, all that I could be.

Elizabeth Gibson (she/her) is a Manchester poet, performer and tutor. She won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2017, and has been commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival. Her work has appeared in Hidden Voice Publishing’s 2020 AnthologyMancunian Ways from Fly on the Wall Press, Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets404 InkAtriumCakeConfingoLitroPopshot and Strix. In 2021, she was chosen for Dibby Theatre’s First Dibs programme for LGBTQ+ writers, to develop her spoken-word show about water, fluidity and queerness. She tweets @Grizonne and Instagrams at @Grizonne.