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When I followed into the deep tunnel,
into darkness, there was always impressions.
A lingering at subways, where my hesitant,
tiny footsteps tripped and echoed
in the flickering, dripping graffito.
Soon, I owned the new bruising and quietly shone:
shyly sore, and as livid and as rude as when
SHARON LUVS KEVIN was daubed on our walls.
Kevin only saw red: ARSENEL red,
while Sharon just blew empty kisses.
Nothing ever joined up in our family:
ever spelt out what all the broken cups
and stained tissues meant. Small pleads and little bleeds
were pushed into whispered corners
already crowded with furtive toys and broken joys.
No one ever heard my ghost of an ‘Oh’,
as I scrawled BECOS in vexed textbooks,
full of crossings out and misconceptions.
No one ever twigged what it was to be
read on a wall, never sought a cause.
In the walled wasteland out back, angry hands
would slap black blotches on thin, trembling arms,
as I ducked down beneath snapped-blown branches.
I sat crumpled and quaking, hoping, waiting,
amongst the quieter stresses and party dresses
laid out in rows for me to try on.
No one else ever came, so we played peephole
and I danced like a pretty puppet.
My lip was split, and sap bled,
and I headed out into knowing fields
- like an apple tree knows how to root
and burst into bloom.
Root, where earth
- just belong.
I recognized the colour: purple.
I took a razor blade
and carved a sharp heart on my bark.
It contained BECAUSE.
I lay on the dizzying, wet earth and leaked
and knew I was watering.
Now, later, when dry,
each spring, amongst the lambs,
I go back and watch.
Watch the puddles spread,
grass fleshed and flushed:
‘cos the cause split away
ryad: a Living Requiem
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