their threat was a tube
and a starch white bed
as if I was some suffragette
in a cell that I had chosen

as if I was thin-fingered malice
with a scheme on the skin
of my knees
when I shrieked in the mouth
of the box they clapped shut

but a rat can slip
through a hole like a dime
and a Tom through any
that its shoulders can

I was out on the day
that they discharged me
thinking nothing of stairs
from the ease of the drop

I would have slept on my feet
like a horse, if I could
stood bare as St David
to weigh even-floored

what went in must stay put:
water was the devil like that
with its phantom pounds
on again off again
so that I didn’t know
who I was, or how old
I could have been eighty
or seventeen, bird-bones
and burnt teeth

I chewed and spat Hell
into a white bowl for
the taste of it
I walked twelve feet
by twelve for the burn
of it
God had plucked out His eyes
at the sight of it
but then again, I’d never
asked Him to look

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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