There is a bruise on my arm.
A round of purple petals
once small and unimportant
like abandoned buds in winter
that failed to bloom for their time,
or the discarded sunbeam
of a daffodil in the middle of
fresh auburn, lost in
the funeral confetti of summer;
or as useless as
a Christian woman
who wants to be loved in the midst
of red, empty aisles.
What started as something stupid–
a blight of health,
as if I were lounging in doctors’ parlours
leaving behind the dot of scarlet
on blue veins,
the unwanted leakage; like an unsightly stain
on the seat of a pair of jeans–
Has now blossomed like an inferno.
Congealed, like molten flesh
turning wistfully over a fire.
I ignored the apostle’s plea:
St Paul suggested union
to prevent the explosion of my self
and yet I continued
watching the offspring of forbidden gardens
bloom angrily on my sleeve.
And every time I move
I feel the pull on my arm
where a bruise was made against my Spirit.
A shawl; a jumper or robe
but at night, when I’m naked in my bed
I’ll see the brand and wince at the reminder
of how unbearable I am.
There is a woman that upsets me.
She calls herself ‘rubies’
readily adorned with the praises of men
then looks at me in disdain
her counter-onyx friend
the blood in me bubbles at her
like the poison in a cauldron
congeals, crystallises, readily broken
an imitation of a precious stone.
I’m not like her
because I have a voice
I talk too much
I don’t know my place, not what it’s like
to obey, to bow my head
to shut up.
My tongue, she said, will be my downfall
one day it’ll unravel from my mouth
roll onto the floor, red and fleshy
wrap itself around my neck and choke me
because I dress like trash
talk like trash
look like trash, dark and bruised
I’m not a woman like her
I’ve been too many places
around estates and tower blocks
through parks and forests
forever haunted, like some animal
in want of blood
or something precious.
There is a woman that I hate.
She is like a dolly dog
always happy and willing to please
she gets carried around in a bag
by people who think they own her
made to wear frilly things
things to mark her femininity
and she loves it.
I would rather be the wolf
running naked through the fauna
digging deep under the ground
to my secret trove