Her Future Husband Appears to Her in the Shape of a Hawk

after Victoria Brookland

Abigail Ardelle (Malta)

Helen Ivory: Written from the work of the wonderful artist Victoria Brookland. A visceral poem which set my imagination on edge, about the invasion of a woman’s body so entire that ‘Each month wet feathers line her uterus.’ On second reading, I found myself metaphorically looking over my shoulder from the first three lines: ‘She never knows by which door / he enters, but suddenly / he is inside her.’

 

Her Future Husband Appears to Her in the Shape of a Hawk

after Victoria Brookland

 

She never knows by which door

he enters, but suddenly

he is inside her. Her red underdress

of hoops and holes stands stiff

as a lightning pole.

In her ribs, the flutter of

dying swifts, drift of whale bone.

 

All she knows is his claws -

a memory of grazed neck,

bruised lips, her bodice

rupturing into the pink

of skinned hare. No blood

this time. Each month

wet feathers line her uterus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

poem © Abigail Ardelle