I wailed a welcome – baring ribs
between my teeth. Adam’s.
Before I crumpled, converted to sheets
left in the cold to dry, dresses hung
above steamy showers, creases pushing
themselves away with nervous hands.
I learned quiet. I learned how swiftly fire
burns, not when played with but when held
unflinchingly close to your face.
I was expected to seep through the cracks –
become the gentle autumn rain,
forgiving myself in silence, upon broken
panes of glass.
The dark read me bedtime stories,
taught me to find spaces for myself –
spaces which would never contain
my star-woven greatness because I am more.
I am more than pressed flowers
between dog-eared pages of your favourite novels.
I am more than the woman you learned to spell,
to say second to man.
I wailed my welcome – throaty howls
wombing with arrival, blood on par
with the tumultuous sea, baring Adam’s rib
in my mouth, in my hands,
behind my grass stained knees; watch,
watch it snap like a wishbone.
Watch me spit out the pain
which was never mine
Poem: © Kristiana Reed 2021