Next Of Kin

we’re too alike, you and I
not by the filaments of a cell
or by bone; your face is yours
and mine is paint and polymer

before that I looked like my father
so people said, a backhand
with a smile, although I was you
from the brine of the afterbirth
your code pressed into the wrinkles
of my brain like crisp ironing

into the way I can never stand still
losing my balance in socked feet
on an uncluttered floor
or in the turn of my mouth,
like a puppet’s jaw, my anger
a ventriloquist’s gab with you
as my speaker

how we have clashed
on our likeness, like trees fighting
for daylight, your roots in my soil,
pushing me out

I was twelve the last time you struck me
you didn’t expect me to hit you back
and you did nothing to reprimand-
by then we were beyond it
you a grammar school girl, bitter olive
of the seventies, and hard with it

me boiling on a cusp and angry
with you, with a past you’d told me
to seal like a tomb, but that time
was an open churchyard we traipse
in and out of, bald of religion but still
seeking some definition of an hour
that hovers between us like a letter
written and sent to someone else

there is something that is beyond
us both, that wears like a stone
in my shoe, that blisters your ankle
we hiked there once in boots
I thought were new, but the soles
were stuffed with paper and wore
down to the quick of the heel
faster than we could patch them
we’ve left that walk unfinished

You seek affection like a prayer bead
running the thread of it in hands
that, in the same gesture, push me away
some days it’s easier than others
Domine, dimissis peccatis
meis gressus meos firma

I wear no white collar
hold no wafer to swallow
but I accept you as myself
deus irae, next of kin

Published by (Not actually a Lady) Ruthless

I'm a Manchester based horror writer! Non binary. Stuck with this domain because I'm lazy

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