Academic journal article Hecate

The Birth of Shame

Academic journal article Hecate

The Birth of Shame

Article excerpt


Skidding along the spinal cord

Uncurling for the first time

Vertebra by vertebra

The whole way up

You're hungry it seems

For the smell of human hair


The teacher told us to breathe

Through our sides

As though we had gills

Then we had to leave it there

I was rolling up my yoga mat

When he came over to help and

Shivers thick with thrill

Ran down the back of me


A woman lying supine

From stirrups to speculum

Watching doctors' faces

For a sign of you

A man across town

Bare arse on the end

Of somebody's blanket

Head in his own hands, thinking

Someone will be born today


Sweet talk over

Lemon lime and bitters

The first time he yawned

I saw the sign of the scalpel

Down his throat

He said he didn't do it

To fill something up any more

He did it to bring someone down


I have a friend

Six feet tall in cowboy hat

An Arab American

Who says everything she knows

She writes from shame

When I call for her

She's sitting up at her computer

Defragmenting the system

In columns down her screen

She goes through her text

With a fist and a felt tip pen

She likes to find her titles that way


You won't feel a thing

He said

I'm thinking

I will never be alone again


There are people

Who have never spent

An entire day

Wearing their pyjamas

In the height of health

Never left it on the looking glass

Knelt to precise measurement

Buried their nostrils

And tasted a fraction or

Just to see

8. …

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