Alice Florence Orr

Alice is a writer from Edinburgh. She is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a MA and MSc in English Literature. She is a DPhil candidate in English at the University of Oxford, starting in October. She is also a Staff Writer and Lists Editor for Podcast Review, a branch of the LA Review of Books, and has been published in Extra Teeth, Forum, Like the Wind, and Scottish Review, etc. She won the Sloan Prize for work written in Lowland Scots dialect in 2020. She currently lives in Glasgow.

Irigaray wrote that when 

I place my lips to your lips we are 

speaking from everywhere at once. 

Could this be new language, delivered to us by way of 

a multiplicity; conversation evoked 

through silence or the 

absent expectation of speech. 

(The only part of him I have touched is 

his elbow. Do not ask me if I thought it nice; pleasantly hard. I was not thinking of his elbow.) 

If I press my lips to yours I am committing 

a criminal act; wordlessly I watch 

our language fragment across an expanse 

I have never perceived as real. 

The good citizen maintains 

her distance, and I have 

always been good. 

I must confess my reticence 

to fully disseminate the boundary between my edge 

and yours to be known, to hope 

words are enough when we part 

lips conveying across a page what I will always 

prefer to say 

through touch. 

Embrace me (across a threshold, perhaps), wary 

of the consequences of my request, 

wary of our small death,

an end given new meaning. Irigaray wrote 

that between us, the house has no walls 

but know: I have never felt further from 

a future in which we might find 

a home within each other. 

April ’20 

Photograph by Naihan Nath.