Bethany W Pope




I recreated you in sleep.
Not as you were;
A lanky black teenager
with natural hair,

perfect teeth, and scars
which ran the length
of your solid-root body
in raised keloid whorls

that followed the path
of the knife from anus to breasts.
We were children, then,
we’ve become something else.

Your wounds were never visible
in photographs. I knew them
by touch. My white hands
pressed against your hard belly,

clawing your ribs, unable
to shift the weight of you.
I felt those ridges, moist
crevices. I feel them now.

You came again last night,
breathing very hard.
Our adult legs entwined, muscular,
the fig and the palm.

The strangler who feeds on the modified
grass. The trunk bears it up
until the vine consumes the pith
and stands, for a time, alone.

How have you grown,
you dark, twisted girl?
How have you met me here,
in power and force?

I cut you off,
pressed you down.
I sliced you from me, tore
your teeth from my skin.

And still, you come.
Shuddering against me,
which death are you dying,
do you hunger or feed?

My daemon, my ghost,
the twin that I buried, clawing up
from the soil. Keeping their roots,
the palm tree, the fig.

Bethany W Pope is an award winning author of the LBA, and a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Awards. She received her PhD from Aberystwyth University’s Creative Writing program. Her work has appeared in: Anon, Art Times, Ampersand, Blue Tattoo, De/Tached (Parthian), The Writer’s Hub, New Welsh Review and her work is due to appear in the next issues of Planet, Poetry Review Salzburg, Tears in the Fence and Anon. Her first poetry collection, A Radiance was published by Cultured Llama Press in June. Her second collection, Persephone in the Underworld has been accepted by Rufus Books and shall be released in 2016.

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