Stigmata.

Spoken word poem. Because biology shouldn’t be shameful!

I was only a slip of a girl.
With my hand sewn, bargain basement, maroon skirt.
My eyes were flashing bright
like pound shop, hazel fairylights,
and the next generation fishwive wannabees,
knew how to dish the dirt.
I was dicing with crimson and scarlet,
and hues of red were my dirty sins.
I drank the tea and spat out blood.
The teacup cracked with the weight
of the shameful, tainted leaves within.

It was art that day.
Male teacher, testosterone on display.
He didn’t know that aunty Rosie had come out to play.
Hand sewn, bargain basement, maroon skirt.
Dreams that often kissed the muck on the dirt.
It hung like a hungry lion around
my skeletal body.
Waiting for aunt Rosie to surrender and say she was sorry.
To show her heartless white flag.
Back in the days when girls were ‘on the rag’.
And fearing that the boys would
call me a dirty slag.
I played it steady.

Art class
and a thousand puberty heartbeats thumping en masse.
I painfully birthed every second and minute that passed.
My flesh were stigmata and my clothes were a looking glass.
I woke up in a coma that only screams pass.
My uterus had cried in scarlet tears.
Flowing from stigmata in my eyes and ears.
Childhood was laughing at my womanhood years,
and I hopelessly drowned in a womb full of fears.
I froze like a cadaver in a cryogenics lab
Ice danced in the heat of my sub Celsius stance
and I felt with my shame for a martyr to stab.

And all the jeering eyes.
Do I burnish them with the scarlet surprise?
Let them touch my stigmata flesh with their cutlass tongues.
I didn’t want to be a victim,
but blood washed skirts were so much heartless fun.
I waited for the sun to phone the moon.
And I let the sky paint dusky colours over cerulean shades of blue.
They’d been sitting there like vampires,
and there I was, a gift of a victim,
and they hadn’t had a clue.

I got home that day.
I wandered through crimson pockets of shame
and feelings that at that age had had no name.
And the curse of puberty, and the feeling I have to blame
my body.
And stigmata weren’t for me a blessing.
And it’s not that I’m regretting being a woman.
It’s not that I’m ashamed of being a woman.
It’s not that I hate red…

Sarah Drury.

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