Sunday, April 04, 2010

Pruned back Prose

April is poetry month, so Kass reminds us. I thought I might therefore try to write a poem.

When I was young my family nicknamed me ‘the poetess’. But I am no poet. I am a prose writer. I cannot condense words the way a poet might.

This morning I read on Eryl’s blog her suggestion that we write a poem or prose about something fearful, something that scares us.

So I took some prose and pruned it back.


Alone with Him

My father comes into my room
Crawls over the top
Of my mother’s body
Into the middle of my shared bed

I can smell his wine breath
The stink of cigarettes

His skin presses against my arms
I close them round my front
Like the body of a dead saint

If I were small
I could slip through the gap
Between the wall and the bed
Slide down onto the floor
Out into the hallway and away

It is hot beside my father
But I keep the sheet pulled to my chin
And hold my breath

If he touches you scream
My sister has said
If he touches you scream

I flatten myself
Like a sheet of paper
Thin enough to blow away

He touches my mother
His hand on her body
Under her nightgown
Don’t
She says
Don’t
He nuzzles into her back

My baby brother
In the next room
Starts to cry
Like a lamb bleating

My mother pulls herself
Out of my father’s grip
And totters to the half open door
Open the way he had left it

She closes the door behind her
With a thump
As if to block him out

But what about me
Has she forgotten me?
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