Who did we imagine would pick up our filters,
our shattered glass? Our minds were closed buds.
In the oaks and pines by the old icehouse
we sparked firelighters, threw back naggins,
cans of cherry cider. We sucked Bensons and mints,
had our first kiss, our last smoke.
What did we know of a beer cap in a vixen’s throat
or the stomach of a hare gagged with cigarette butts?
All we knew for sure was if we drank enough
we could voice the panic attacks we had before maths,
the mantras that our bodies were too big, too small,
too riddled with spots. We confessed
that we watched our mothers dice carrots
with the knives we used on our skin and babysat kids
by the river we dreamt of walking into.
Here we uncapped what was held so tightly
like a sluice trap after so many winters.
Our tense jaws, our cramped hearts, were held
by the earth’s nerves, those roots and vines
that quietly lowered the pressure of our blood.
‘Knives We Used on Our Skin’ won the second place prize of our 2021 International Poetry Competition.
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