Kathleen Strafford



What’s done is done

         The Thane of Fife, had a wife, where is she now?

I wonder what it’s like to be dead

wonder         if he touches my flesh

will it feel the same?


I try to remember             but cannot

remember             his hot ties of affection


thought it would be easy

to unsex myself

screw my courage

into the vacuous

business of men

Oh this murky business

that creeps day by day


filling my breasts with vinegar

emptying my womb

of its junk


At first     it creeps under your arms

stings                 like pins and needles

Next           you cannot bend to pick

poppies                   sprouting from your hips

as they reach to flatten each breast



each nipple into submission

Last thing you hear is your

frightened womb                   escaping


as your features

wrinkle         loose skin sags


leaving your hands free

for the black night

and bloody water




Kathleen Strafford is a student at Trinity University in Leeds studying for her MA in creative writing.  She hopes her first collection of poetry will be published this coming year after graduation, called Her Own Language.  She has been published in magazines & online:  Interpreter’s House; Butcher’s Dog; Algebra of Owls; Fat Damsel; Cinnamon Press Reaching Out anthology; Trinity’s Journeys; Trinity’s 50th Anniversary Anthology, and received honourable mention at the 2016 Ilkley Poetry Slam.

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