I finally wrote something real about O.C.D

Rituals: Rites

I rise in the night, moving
past the open closet door
I fear running into,
a white shirt hanging
by the neck, to dry
on the knob, shadows.

The sound of breathing,
the ache of a full bladder.
I follow my killing hands
into the bathroom, sit,
allow myself to drain
from me in gasps.

I hate that there
are so many rituals,
the sacred rites of O.C.D.
To stand before the mirror
chanting phrases to a dark,
small god I will not own.

It takes so much time,
and has so little purpose;
save for illusory peace
of mind that lasts
only an instant, and fades
before the words.

I see my shade
in the shirt I sleep in,
she grins her darkness
from the glass.
This is not the God
that I would serve.

We peel away
our clothes together,
revealing white flesh,
the breasts encased
in ancient bra gone
ragged at the cups.

I feel an itch between my ribs
and hook my anxious nails
into the source of it.
My doppelganger shows
the long teeth of a dog.
The flesh comes off

like bacon, streaky,
white and red.
I can see the bones,
my honed abdominals,
powerful, glistening.
I give them up.

My shadow is hungry.
I feed her. This is the dark
half of my priesthood.
I unhook muscles
from their tendons to give
them to her need.

She swells in the mirror.
More. Intestines
unwind like sausage.
They are sausages.
Myself takes them
in her teeth.

I am revealed at last
for what I always was,
a ghost in bones,
a beating heart.
Lungs that would cry
if they had the traction.

There are sharp teeth
in the mirror.
They eat up
the night entirely.
I let them.
I give myself up.


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope was named by the Huffington Post as ‘one of the five Expat poets to watch in 2016’. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described her latest collection as 'poetry as salvation'.....'This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape.' Bethany has won many literary awards and published several collections of poetry. Her first novel, Masque, was published by Seren in 2016. Her second novel, Ordinary Lives: The Ballad of John and Mary, was published in 2018. Follow her on Twitter @BethanyWPope

Posted on April 20, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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