Invisible Love: When I Refuse You

The idea behind this series was to curate stories and pieces that reclaim the love that isn’t always visible. The love that makes us question what defines heartbreak, what defines a connection, how we learn and unlearn, how we teach and feel love. These questions are brought to the surface through this collection of visual works, poetry and text created by women who’ve beautifully visualized all the love you can’t visibilize.

When I Refuse You
by Fiona Raye Clarke

When I refuse you
you wrap your resentment around me like netting.
Catch me in your freezing waters
to take me home and slice me open.
Discard the soft parts, the fluids, the insides
baiting me with worm promises.

Don’t you see all the times I’m kissing you
hanging onto something
you already given up:
put your foot over the railing,
swing your legs over the other side to jump.

I have to be the raft,
the boat,
the sail,
the anchor.
I have to navigate the winds
with a lick of my thumb and forefinger
while you get called ‘Captain.’

I am not even second mate.
I ride the ship’s bottom.
Hang flank on the ballast,
dancing with the slaves.
To keep my body limber
not for my own sake
but so that I can keep working.


Fiona Raye Clarke is an award-winning Trinidadian-Canadian multi-disciplinary artist. Her writing has been featured in print in Broken Pencil Magazine,, and The Peak Magazine, and online at Room Magazine, Shameless Magazine, and The Puritan. She was a 2018 Diaspora Dialogues Long-Form Mentorship Program mentee and a Firefly Creative Writing Writer-in-Residence. She is currently based in Toronto. @fionarclarke