The Antechamber of Collective Detriment

I overcrowded my body with grief, let desertification sink into

My fingertips. I stand in a room full of relatives, the black abysses

Palpable in every mouth, the cramping fingers beneath the waistline.

I am stared at by the body without life, the body with our history.

The body containing the ineffective glue that failed to hold us together.


I sense the dead gaze across the room and realise that I’m not wearing shoes.

At every corner, every eyebrow raised, I feel pressured to justify myself, my

Actions against a deceased man, for myself. I can see that my voice remains

Unheard in the accusatory faces, I’m dragged across side rooms, my grief is not valid,

It is deformed, not how it’s supposed to be, it grew against expectations.


She is following me around, waiting for me to slip, to be imperfect, to fail,

Once more, so that she can attack me and tear me to pieces. I can smell her

On my heel. I have never seen eyes so wide open, hysterical and determined.

She ignores our origins, she thinks she’s right and I’m wrong. The speechless

Body doesn’t matter anymore. She found her scapegoat, grieving wrongly.


She tries to release all the wrath she nurtured against the world,

Release it onto me, because I failed her ideals that were never mine.

She decontextualises me to target me, circulating against my body.

She needs me to chain myself to the gulf of guilt. And as I start to counteract

Her dance with mine, my own steps and stance, she ends up flagellating herself.


“Portrait of Russian Opera Singer Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel” by Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910)

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