Jo Gatford

Inside the whale

Inside the whale it is quiet and wet and warm; the pressure of the water outside womb-tight white noise. You panicked, briefly, when the baleen closed behind you, but then it dives, long and sinuous, and being frightened seems unnecessary—irreverent, to disturb this temple—like screaming in a library. Kissing at a funeral. A bone saw echo fills its belly, hollow as a trench, mercury in your lungs, loneliness from a depth the sun can never reach, and just as it occurs to you that this little pocket of air is the only place to breathe for miles and miles, you realise it’s singing.

Jo Gatford writes flash disguised as poetry, poetry disguised as flash, and sometimes things that are even longer than a page. She is one half of Writers’ HQ and feels very strongly about puns and Shakespeare.



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