Kitty Coles



The Butcher’s Wife

His hands are white as a princess’s,
or milk, so the network of veins
shows through as clear as a blueprint.

They are cold, like the petals of lilies,
marble-cool. The nails are kept short.
He uses a brutal brush

to scour under them.  Then he files
them smooth as shells.  They are pink
like sweeties, like fondant, like blushing brides.

In the evenings, I sit on the sofa, try not to watch
those hands constructing exquisite butterflies
from origami paper, one after another.

Their movements are as intricate
as ballet, caress the paper, gentle as a lover.
Each fold precise, in its own way, as surgery.

At night, those hands are on me.
They smell like blood, a rusty vehemence
infecting the heat of the bedroom.

I dream of skeins of bunnies, the sides
of cows, the skin peeled off,
those hands parting my ribs.



Kitty Coles has been writing since she was a child but only submitting her work for publication in the last few years.  Her poems have appeared in magazines including Mslexia, Iota, The Interpreter’s House, Obsessed With Pipework and South. Website: 

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