strings

By | 1 February 2019

i slice the ribbed pork; blood seeps onto
plastic cutting board. my mum says, blunt
knives are safe. i am not a doctor, but surely

clean amputation is safer than dull chop,
pulling and tugging until the decayed
spine snaps off. in any case, we’ve never

done things the easy way. it will not taste
good if we do not bleed into the mix. the
same secret recipe everywhere – prodigal

child returns. i keep separating flesh
from marrow, but what else can i fix-
ate on if not the uncut umbilical cord.

the day i turned legal, i laid under a man.
watched as he jabbed needles into my
back. the ink says, i will never be you. still

i grow into your skin, the same dis-
jointed smile. still i hoard grievances the way
you hoard old toys. still i have the same night

mares – my fingers, locked on soft flesh
until skin spills open, a mess of seeds
and clots. shhh, don’t let the neighbours

stare. i look down and see wrinkled
hands, spider veins, shaky enough
to fear sharp edges. i do not want

a daughter. i know the iron i used
to defy you will be forged
strong enough to subdue her too.

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