The portrait of a petite figure

The portrait of a petite figure

Vasiliki Poula

An adopted child of my mother, I was born amidst the spring of a year that no one remembers anymore. I am not particularly beautiful nor graceful, but I show my asymmetrical features with pride. I show them stark naked in winter, or carefully embellished in summer. I let the sun’s rays penetrate every pore of my flesh and when I feel a breeze coming, I embark on it and travel everywhere, touching and holding anything that I desire. Once the wind abates, I cannot but retreat. She, then, knows that she needs to come to me, to keep me company. She caresses and consoles me. I have come to terms with it, that my confinement is vital.


Hers is not, yet she has grown to consider it as such. She takes off from time to time. She hates the roads, but follows them every day to catch up with reality. I can see her from the balcony, her petite figure avoiding the lines of the pavement methodically. How evil this pavement must be, with its tiles in such an abnormal position – she either chops her pace to only pass one tile or she strides to overcome two whole tiles. But she never crosses their lines.

She concentrates on her steps so much that she feels walls rising high separating her from everything else. People pass by her again and again, they are no trouble. The tempo of her feet in harmony with the tempo of her thought. The music born, deafening, echoed on the buildings’ façades. And she tries to close her eyes, but the lids, they do not shut. They must take everything in. She tries to stop them, putting her hands over them, to block her vision for good. The fingers struggle, but she persists. With her palms, like hooks on her face, she runs back.

She enters the balcony with her breath still short and waters me. My whiteness teaching her peacefulness, lying by herself quietly, as the light lies on her hands. She tastes the water. Warm and salty, a far sea moves into her mouth. She spits it out and leaves the glass back on the balcony’s table. She needs to see the sky, so it’s in this glass that the sky shall be collected – in each drop of the rain, a grain of it.

While she waits for the sky to be collected, she cooks. Some more onion is needed. ‘My thumb instead of the onion’, she shouts. The tongue stuck, but she laughs with the odor of burnt food and gets lost in the smoke. The last month, she has tried to kill herself three times. The second was successful, the third not. She forgets about the sky and keeps dancing frenetically in the middle of the – still – perfumed room, filling her veins with the ashes.

Sweetly, she inhales, and I hurtle, hijacking her sigh.

Vasiliki Poula

I am a third-year Law student at LSE, where I am mostly interested in constitutional reform and the impact of the uncodified constitution on the judicial interpretation of statutes. When not reading around jurisprudence, I explore literature written or translated in Greek, English and French and re-visit pieces that have moved me.

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