Issue #11

More Seed than Flesh

We crushed blackberries inside empty butter tubs
becoming inky palm stained scholars,
smiling through smeared war paint
as we unpicked seeds from between our teeth
and blackened fingernails.
We were unaware of the liquid lacing us together
binding berries with spit.
An invisible thread looped through my front teeth
then beneath his tongue.

Later, after the grass
had laughed from yellow to green
and back again,
we crouched in that same spot.
This time we did not tumble backwards.
We fell forward.
Our lips brushed and tongues touched
tasting lukewarm evening sun
and blackberries.
Bent down in a curious curtsy
making imprints
as if we were sculpting clay.
My knees aren't muddy now
they aren't grazed and bloody now.
I did not feel dirty.

Later, after he had replaced me
or I him.
The next kiss
worked its way through me
like a palm hammering hard from the wrist.
My spine locked with the pine's spine
zipping us together.
Bark bruised me with its lattice pattern
barbed wired branding
my skin of satin.
Overgrown limbs
grappled with my undergrown hips.

Trapped in the brambles
where there are no blackberries.
Except for one.
You try picking her
she is unripe
and leaves a bitter taste
on your sandpaper tongue.
My knees weren't muddy
not grazed or bloody.

Katie Smart