Amy Mackelden

How Fast Do Glaciers Melt?

One day I’ll be gone. And I don’t mean savour each moment because we all die or accidents happen but I’m going to pack up and you’re not going to expect it. You won’t see suitcases because you’re not allowed in my house – your dad banned you – and my office could be empty days before you find out, and you’ll not know. You can’t come close. Jackie works next door and if she saw us for coffee, drinks or a meal, she’d shop us like children shoplifting magazines, sweets in supermarkets. Everybody pays.

So enjoy car drives. Remember the world ends around us. We watch it degenerate and any thoughts of kids, continuing this, only adds to it: would you want to destroy resources we hardly have enough of?

Relationships end. We’re romanticists, the both of us, raised to believe love is core and everything else follows. But what if our parents were wrong? What will we do when our teenage daughter takes up with her teacher? What could we say about it?

I’ll love you until the glaciers melt, start melting. Oh. Shit.

Take My Heart With You

Voicemail’s all we have of the past.

Your High School English Teacher

You will see me differently. I’ll be a part of a past you were ready to leave before you knew it. You don’t yet see that starting over’s a privilege you’re privy to. You’ll cling to me like yesterday’s plate and you’re cellophane, Blu-Tack before it collects hairs, paint, dust and Sellotape at the start of it, right at the beginning.

I don’t remember beginnings, am not sure how I get dragged into anything. Am so used to slipping I’m surprised there’s not another yet, a replacement you, a likely substitute. I enjoy obscure endings, feel better when a question’s hanging.

When you move, which you will, you’ll use stock phrases you found in magazines telling you to move on, do what you want, risk. You’ll say, “You were the best thing that happened, love of my life, first person to taste the underside of my tongue.” And after these sentences, the steps are easy. You’ve seen Dawson’s Creek; you know how to end something.

When I date Jen, Penelope, Paul, and they ask what school was like, I won’t tell them about you. I’ll pretend I hated the books they made me teach, there was no joy in it. Every pupil with potential was a waste and every writer who had promise spent longer on topics with other teachers. I won’t explain age gaps, logistics, logic, ethics and conduct. I won’t tackle morality. I might ask what they thought of Pacey and his teacher and watch them squirm trying to explain why it’s good, why it’s bad, why it’s right, why it’s wrong, why it’s wrong, why it’s wrong, why it’s complicated.


You will want to do the right thing. You won’t know what the right thing is, how much you should hold back in any situation, because you learnt your adult lessons early and earned money for the family, lost, re-earned it. You’ll know there are secrets you don’t need to tell, people you can’t love. You might try to alter your feelings: some plastic bends and clothes with elastane stretch over any figure and your tautness you tauten like guy ropes with tent pegs and brute strength, what little strength you have. You grew up with Snow White, Cinderella. You are of a metamorphosing mentality, a somewhat unrealistic one.

And you could buckle to his weight, learn to fit somebody funnier than the people you’ve kissed, the men you’ve been playing for so far. You could even rewind to when you wore tracksuits, sheets, and Lucas would worship you. There would be no hesitation. But there’s not rewind, there aren’t trials. Just two distinct roads, choices that are cheese slivers, and when you cut cheese with a cheese knife it never turns out like the pre-cut, ready-made, pre-packaged stuff, and there is no protective layer of plastic.

So you play the game not sure what the aim is or if there even is one or if Monopoly isn’t an exercise in ego and that’s why you win win win.