swallowdaughters | bulgefathers | a poem in the name of ghosts

I abandoned house and terror

reconnected with the dead that never left

mouth open at the heel


I listened to my own faces behind my ears

the scent of my skin and fingers somewhere in my growing hair

voice over voice over voice almost unrecognisable

I’m told that I shouldn’t look

shouldn’t turn back

they say that ugliness is not worth looking at

I disagree


she swallows her coffee

swallows what happened to her

the taste fights against her intake

the memory crawls back up

the senses try to wake up

she shuts down

numbs her face

freezes her body

like he did

grabs the mascara

grabs the foundation

grabs every tool in the box


he brought a threat with him

he smelled of danger

of unwholesomeness

something told me to stay away from him

something told me he partially gave me life

I think for him it was a coincidence

an unreflected act of self-liberation

indulgence, pleasuring himself with her body,

letting it all out, letting himself go

detoxicating himself into her

and she carried me for months

within her shame of what he continuously did to her

what she allowed to happen

what she was taught to endure

with her dying body

with her invaded body

open wide

he dug her grave

his amusement park

and I swallowed mother and father

“Portrait of Gerardine Henriette Marguerite van Hardenbroek van Lockhorst” by Thérèse Schwartze (1851-1918)

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