To scold and scald

I scolded myself today;

not in the way my Nanny did

whenever she battled my knotted hair,

but with water as I slid into the bath,

a welcome pain I use to escape the chaos

of anxious thoughts with shrill voices

talking of nothing but doom.

I remember the first time

I felt myself seared by the ambrosia

I believed mermaids regaled in:

it was the communal showers

at Harwich swimming pool

and my Granny marched defiantly

to reception complaining

that the water had scalded me,

it was red-hot and dangerous –

it was a pain I would become

accustomed to; embrace in fact

with aching limbs and tired skin,

with eyes which wish to cry

but will burn instead.

Poem: © Kristiana Reed 2019

Between the Trees UK

Between the Trees US

Available internationally

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