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Words

Rosemary Sullivan
From:   Blue Panic. Black Moss Press, 1991, p 9-10


Aunt Mary used to warn me about words.
They never stay where you put them.
They're loose.
Any no-good can use them.
Like a woman, she tried
to keep them safe in the family.

Family was her story that added down to me
-- always fenced with a lesson:
Words break loose if you let then.

She stored the family photos in a basket.
Trussed up in her rocker, warty as any gourd,
each night her hands plunged the corridors of blood.
I knew she was hooked on danger.

She could go all the way back to the wind,
how it falls and picks itself up in a field.
Or fog empties a valley till all you see
is your hands where the world was.

From her I learned there were others
pacing inside me.
She said they had made me up.
I was meant to love them.

But it terrified me to think I was lived in
by strangers I had never met
or knew only by name.
They made me alien fiction.

In my bones
an old woman dies over and over.
I dare not look
in the room with the blooded axe
nor speak to the men who walked out.
Their tracks in my blood. Their lust
for edges.

I could spend
a lifetime digging graves
in my head.


Rosemary Sullivan's works copyright © to the author.


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