Orphans

Orphans

Half a year in this shelter proved too much for me.
In times of great stress I learned to move inward,
into worlds that I created or borrowed from books.
My body ambulated as usual, untenanted,
doing whatever was expected of it
from milking cows to mathematical equations.

I spent a lot of my limited free time, then,
in undergrowth, conversing with the tree-roots
and breathing in the sour stench of cedar mulch.

Pain blurred to a smudge of smoke
in the distance and my eyes retreated
beyond the mask I learned to give them.

Tallon used my pain to prove her reality,
my blood to give tongue to her ghosts;
if she could force a reaction from me, weigh herself
in tears or bone-shards, it was for her an affirmation.
When I fed my heart in brain-generated green pastures,
my eyes staring through her, she did not exist.
We were nearly parasitic.

Towards the end I could vanish, leave my body
a sack that I watched from the shade of an invisible oak
that floated in the high left corner of our bedroom,
near the quilted paste-board celling,
behind her naked left shoulder.

Once I had gained the knack of it
she untranced me only once.
Weeping, her pert nose
spouting green, frustrated mucous,
she tore my fluid-slick body
from the bed and dragged it
by the freshly regrown hair
across the threshold to the toilet.

A boys room originally,
the walls were lined with urinals
that had since been transformed
into pots for young ferns.
She lifted the plants out
and lay my head into the bowl
which lipped around my neck
as comfortably as the sink in a hairdressers.

The stink of her urine
pulled me down from my perch.
There are few things as blinding
as an ammonia eye-wash.
I sputtered and choked,
with banshee-like shrieking.

When my eyes cleared enough
to make the room visible, I saw
that my dark twin was crying with me,
her relief and my agony were equally matched.

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About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope is an award winning author of the LBA, and a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Awards. Her work was listed for the Cinnamon Press Novel Competition. She received her PhD from Aberystwyth University’s Creative Writing program. Her first poetry collection, A Radiance was published by Cultured Llama Press in June. Her second collection, Persephone in the Underworld has been accepted by Rufus Books and shall be released in 2016. Her work has appeared in: Anon, Art Times, Ampersand, Blue Tattoo, Sentinel Quarterly, The Delinquent, De/Tached (an anthology released by Parthian), The Writer’s Hub, New Welsh Review, Every Day Poems, And Other Poems, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Magma, Words & Music, The Quarterly Conversation, Tears in the Fence, Ink, Sweat and Tears and Planet. Her work is due to appear in the next issues of Poetry Review Salzburg, Acumen, Pacific Poetry , Music& Literature, Anon, and The Screech Owl.

Posted on April 9, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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