Plastic Tubed Little Bird
I hide the tampon within my fingers
like I’m holding a tiny, fragile bird.
Someone once told me this is how
my hands should be when I run.
On the side of an unstained trainer’s edge
is a star. In red. On the edge.
I think of the tiny celestial mark I draw
in ink on my calendar, always inconspicuous.
I pretend to look for my phone, pen, a date
two weeks later. Inside my bag, a yellow wrapper
the colour of cruel. A creased spring dress
worn only to celebrate bloodshed.
I whisper period to you
in the hope you will turn around.
You don’t. I shout it out
28 times aloud in my head.
When I empty my Mooncup, the blood
remains crescent lonely in the daytime bowl.
I like the absolute discomfort
this causes you.
I envy the plastic backed sanitary sleeping
bodies on their unfamiliar coastal beds,
their one-night stand leaving them free
for me to feel their single use guilt.
A naked tampon in the cervix of my bag
is exposed only by a useless string lifeline,
the wrapper from the orange tampon
flatlines at the bottom of my bag.
Our Turn to Host
That the dinner party is ours is a bad start / I open the door / smile / take coats / observe new hair / enhanced romance between the couple we sit down with / every sentence I begin with I self-censor / make sure I’m not going to disclose too much / B notices but she’s got the headfuck rush from the Pata Negra I bought at Madrid Airport / I’m struggling after two glasses of wine and 12 drops of Rescue Remedy / I want to smoke too fast / exhale this shit sham of an evening / At eight seventeen and we’re one hour and sixteen minutes in / after melon and lamb and Hasselbach potatoes / here is the part when I want to cram soft sponge into my mouth like a gag / this is when B’s husband asks about my job / I'm lying on the table naked / exposed as he dives in with precision / cuts into the decisions I make laid out on the table / dissecting me in parts / judging and measuring and weighing and labelling / I want to eat trifle and cry
After Barbara Hepworth
What happens when I look from the side?
When I can’t see the strings completely?
Does that mean the sea disappears?
It is Pelagos I always go to first
at The Hepworth. From the front,
the repeat, the shadows, the stitches
transform my vulva into a perfect
circle as you reach around my waist,
from the side repeat, trace finger on back.
I hear a moan from the centre (my voice)
your cock is between my lips
I am the opposite to hollow now
the stitches are laced with immediacy
they mimic breathing
they rise – pause – fall
I move to the side, hold my breath
the sea stops moving –
land locked, absent body. In the gallery
we meet at cat’s cradle
we begin on an elm flat base
lick salt off plate, off body
into the space, fold shouldered waves into me
sea wall curves over arms –
wrap around, repeat
I look at Pelagos from the side
I think of myself
an empty estuary
the size of an unspecified sea,
I’m almost complete in this part.
I am Pelagos. From the side
from the side, make my strings dissipate.
All poems: Plastic Tubed Little Bird (Broken Sleep Books)