Content warning: this poem references body horror and blood.
Here, take my knife, careful with your tongue.
oh dear! Is there much blood? Don’t worry, I’ll mop it up
with my hair, see how the red blazes;
see how it suits me? You know I always wanted it like this.
And this ink, all this ink… Let me wring out your skin. Wait a sec,
I’ll get a pot to put it all in. Good lord, there’s a lot!
This’ll come in very handy, I’m always running out of pens.
I think I’ll write our story out with it (which version though?)
Oh, but I’ll put this one aside; the name of your mother.
That’s going in another poem. Wait, there’s something
here. A little bead. The scar from your vaccine,
just above that one that looks like a spider
(my least favourite of all). But I’ll make it into a pendant,
a keychain, perhaps? Along with your foreskin. Maybe a pair
of earrings? And these hands, like dinner plates, fingers flexed,
better suited to piano keys. I’ll wear one as a glove in winter,
and with the other I’ll tease myself by penning something
earnest, and heartfelt, in which I use words like always, and never.
And mine. Each eye will do nicely for the sun and the moon
in my picture book project, and your teeth, please forgive me,
I’ve added them to my own. They lend more bite to my rage-writing.
Such glorious canines! Here, hand me your nose, truly you’ll never guess
what I’ll do with that delicious slant! I plan to rest all my words
on top of it, like a schoolgirl’s lined page. See here, isn’t it neat, and tidier
this way? Organised, and punctual, and punctuated, just like you.
I’ll put both arms into my trilogy, and your legs will get a short fiction each. And these
toes, and ears, and scuffed elbows… I think they’re best suited for poetry.
What shall I do with this voice? I’ve put some water to boil,
no need to add sugar, that accent is thick enough, and
so sweet! I still can’t believe I had no memory of the gravel of it,
or the way your ‘r’s and ‘j’s just rolled into the pot- no, just the memory
of my name, and that devilish, defiant grin. Oh sod it! I’ve dropped some
hair- your sparse beard and thick eyebrows- right in!
Along with the ‘z’ at the end of my name.
What a pity it had to come to this, having to divide you, pick you apart.
Cut all 6 foot, ten years of you down to pedacitos and other spare parts.
On recovering from heartbreak
Just put on your shoes and push out the door. Just one step, just two step, remember? You’ve done this before. He’s very likely not thinking of you, ‘coz you’re clearly not the one. So best put on your shoes, Pet, and head out there for a run. When you get back, put on some makeup, and wind a pencil into your hair. Why not try that great outfit you’ve been waiting for an occasion to wear? And when it hurts, try breathing in. Then breathing out. Then in again once more. Look around: such precious faces! You know what: it’s them you’re doing this for. You tried your very hardest. And it was real, and fun… But now you must put it behind you, put on your shoes, and go run. Don’t you send him that message! And please don’t sing him that song, ‘coz in this mad mixup, you have the hill, you did nothing wrong. Yes, I know you feel foolish, sickly, hopeless, and small. But look: with just one-two step, you’ve picked yourself off the floor. Try to stop staring at pictures, he’s probably not thinking of you. You’d best switch off your phone apps and find something else to do. Go get out your toolbox, go learn that new skill. Don’t worry about his happiness. He’ll find some other cheap thrill. Slice up a bell pepper and put down the M&Ms. If you need to, pick up the phone and cry it out to your friends. Now, I know they all tell you that with time you’ll forget. But I’m not going to lie, sweets- this isn’t quite over just yet. Just look down at your heart. See? The damage is done. So just go put your shoes on and go for a run. Then wash off your mascara, drink some water and down your meds. Try take care of your body, and put it gently to bed. And when you wake in the morning don’t forget to salute the sun. ‘Coz it’s another day you got up, and are going for a run.
Elizabeth M. Castillo is a Paris-based, British-Mauritian poet, writer and language teacher. When not writing poetry, she can be found working on her webcomic, podcast, or writing a variety of different things under a variety of pen names. Follow her on Twitter at @EMCWritesPoetry and Instagram at @EMCWritesPoetry.