Close up. Setting, the hearth

No-one looks here, anyway.

The match sparks, tempting me.

I run my wrist over the flame,

First pass is painless, warming me.

It was the oven, an easy lie.

The flame grows, then fades.

I strike again, gold sparks loud,

In my silent home.

No-one sees here anyway,

So I hold it still a little longer.

Black hairs frizzle on my thigh.

No-one will see.

My skin, my choice, my pain.

Some people cut themselves, I’ve heard.

I couldn’t use a knife for that.

I light another match.

match on blue low res 2

Second edit: been cut before

I can’t let you see me.

And they were all celebrating while I bled.

Don’t look at me, not there.

We were dressed like dolls, toyed with,

Dark-skinned Barbies, just babies when,

Gems glittering, can’t distract from tears,

She made the cut.

Not down there, I know it’s why I came,

But please, not now.

They’re singing in the courtyard,

Shrill ululations echo, my scream unheard.

You’re not listening either,

My presence in your office permission enough.

I’m screaming, ‘Don’t touch,’ but nothing comes out.

Take off your dress, she said, and you say it too.

I can still smell the perfume, even as you disinfect your hands.

Lie down, she said. I lie, your bed an invitation, curtains drawn.

Open your legs like a good girl, she said.

You stand and wait for me to open my legs,

But I’ve been cut before.

I push down the skirt.

Not now, I say, I can’t. I’ll book again.

And on the street I can hear sirens screaming for me.

The bride price is high.

Your invoice arrives, despite my refusal.


I watch the blade,

The blade I chose,

And I watch the line,

The line in my control,

And it grows.

As blood spills, I release,

Anger that I had to choose,

Anger that it chose me,

Or did it?

Uncertainty bites,

And I slice again.

 Razor Blade With Drop Of Blood Stock Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotosdotnet