27 Nov 2016
Winners and highly commended works from Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry and Short Story Competitions - July 2010
She waited for rainbows and butterflies
there were only a few scattered smiles
as she calculates the loss of herself
what she wanted more than anything
is to stand up and shout
'I don't enjoy being a mother'
and be received with nodding heads
not gawking faces drooling stigma
but the fear of betraying the reason of her existence
dawns on her from behind the bars of the cot
big tearful, trustful eyes follow her around like guilt.
She has never felt less human
as skin stretched over nine months
starts to darken and flake
she hears it crack and peel off
her deflated belly
breasts heavy with milk
wrung in the bathroom sink
Dicing vegetables into a blender
she admires the knife in her hand
that cuts unrepentantly.
I sit on this hard cold floor
at least once every fortnight
and I polish them
I burnish them
I wax them until they have sparkled
not that I have ever let them fade;
the reasons why we are not together,
until their luster
so fiery and powerful
ate whatever sanity was left in me.
They are the only ornaments
that stood upright
however they were placed
Then came the arranging
where I let them choose
where they would fit in the story,
a story simple, and reasonable enough
for my dwelling, lingering self to digest.
They sat so quietly on the shelf
year after year,
I brooded over them so
they would not age.
Posted by Fatima Matar at 27.11.16