by Alexandra Burton

Our bodies have grown the same
curve of apology, 
spines like brackets wrapping  
confessions nobody asked us 
to kneel for. 

Shame finds her hand in my mouth, 
my jaw yielding to regurgitate  
lessons unintentional— 
yet here I am, afraid 
of death and the dark 
and the winter of somebody else’s  

She has never nailed her colours to anything, 
and I would trade my left arm 
for a hammer  
if only to shatter 
the curse of these bird-bones. 

On Saturday, I watch her 
skittering acquiescence 
and pray my rage through  
the floorboards 
into rat maze foundations. 

On Sunday, I clasp my hands 
to Chronos, reimagine myself  
as a second skin on that child  
with violet-shadowed nerve and  
her name. 

Every morning, I stare down her fear  
in the mirror and know:  
we would turn ourselves to vapour  
if we could, and they would strike out  
until their hands cleaved 
our faces like a hot knife  
through butter, and at last,  
we would feel nothing. 

Alexandra Burton

Alexandra Burton currently lives in Leeds, where she works for the NHS. She writes a range of creative non-fiction, short stories and poetry, with a short story featuring in Dear Damsels’ collection on female friendship, Let Me Know When You’re Home. She’s also a big fan of a lengthy Instagram caption.

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