It was my bones you left behind.
When you went,
Pale and whitened against the green of our wallpaper.
Like candles, without their smoky flicker of shadow,
You made me weak,
With a mind that only
What I could not speak
No words can come out right when they are,
choked, behind rigid ribs
That cannot not give,
For fear that every part come tumbling down.
To drown me.
When you aren’t here to look.
You left me
Dying, until I couldn’t watch anymore,
And now I have to hammer out words,
From a mind made of metal,
You did that,
As surely as if you’d
Let the doctor save us,
Words are all that’s left now
In the silence.
From my window I can hear
the scream of a jack knifed kingfisher
The howl of a sky cut open by grief,
A grasshopper on his knees too old to fly.
From my front door there’s the call of the sparrow
Heart sore and bleeding
While the willow fights against itself
Tangled up with no way clear
On my knees in the dirt I hear
My mother’s heartbeat
Beneath my hands,
the spider turns over my eyes.
To show me
Where the crow is that calls for my bones.
The pathogen in the water
Blood on a handkerchief.
In the church
I hear a gunshot missing it target, unlike my bullets
And a hand smashes the window
Begging to be let in.
I don’t know how.
So I return to my kitchen
Turning the dough and pounding
The flour into the words
Whilst outside the cart rumbles by.
Rebecca Batley is an archaeologist, historian and writer. She’s been passionate about the Brontës’ life and works since reading Jane Eyre as a teenager.