The bride stays calm in her three tiered dress.
Pretending not to notice the munchkins
slicing into the her bodice or the gingerbread man
chewing on her trailing lace.
With each full toothed grin, she hopes she dislodges
the sharp prongs of scorn cutting
into her skull from her tiara.
Hopes she flicks off the droplets
of bloods staining her veil.
With the dark cloud gathering
and the guests running for cover
she stays at the altar, mouthing her vows
to love, cherish and grieve the little girl lost
and wasted on marzipan and sugared icing.
An oversized, blue fluffy bunny
is the things of nightmares.
Garish, stalks the playroom floor.
I hide behind the enlarged
building blocks, hands over ears and heart
busting my chest. Afraid
the bunny will hear me, find me
and beat me. Beat me for being me.
I didn’t do anything wrong.
I fear this fear. Not knowing
where the next blow from the taloned
paw is coming from and why.
Not knowing if my existence
is an affront or punishable offence.
I dream of other floors
with soft cushioned landings
blankets and warmth, like
under autumn leaves breathing orange.
I feel like I’m holding a million little Sherees
in my arms and each one with a need to be fulfilled.
I’m lost, not knowing what to do for the best,
who to listen to the first. All are fragile and in pain.
They’re little me’s at different times in my life.
The little puffy afro-ed toddler.
The dreadlocked housewife.
The first school bunchies kind of kid.
The jet black straight haired newborn.
The baldy divorcee.
Mini Sherees all making noise
vying for my attention, craving love
wanting to be seen and healed.
I’m afraid one will slip through my fingers,
or I’ll break the neck of another.
It’s a huge responsibility to carry myself
alone. And not allowing one single Sheree in.
craving and restless
at a loss
knowing my medicine
and not taking it
to suffer; a tradition passed down
through our bodies
attempting to work against it
with water helps to heal
the wounds, silence the cries
She’s called Daphe, the woman running the business training out of her Notting Hill home.
The Thames curves south from here by Chelsea, sluggish brown. The city’s awake and burning.
Have you been to see the damage yet? he asks, in our snatched conversation.
Almost gleeful in his hunger to hear details about the tower block which blazed leaving so many people missing or dead.
He says there’s photographs of the missing stuck to tree trucks, walls and railings. Black, brown and olive skinned and missing.
I don’t want to see this suffering. The ruins becoming a tourist attraction. Leave them with some dignity. Always having to endure the gaze in life and death.