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This poem is taken from PN Review 227, Volume 42 Number 3, January - February 2016.

Joy Sasha Dugdale
A dark stage. A woman in a rocking chair. Catherine Blake.

Silence.


They don’t want me here... they don’t want me...

An old woman, getting in their way,

under their feet.

Look what the cat brought in. An ancient orphan, no future to bless her.

A sparrow, a spider, a nothing.

Good for nothing. And nothing will come of nothing... And nothing will come of me now... A nothing left in darkness...

This is how it is. This is how it has been always. A parting.

We are parted

The fibres of our souls are spread. They cling –

A tear. A tear. And a tearing.

I am a rent shirt... I am a poor man’s shirt and a pair of woollen stockings and a patched jacket thrown from the hearse... Every breeze shudders me...And no one wants me...

How I ache.... How I ache... How I ache...

Nine days I laboured, nine days and nights I laboured, and on the tenth he gave me my freedom, singing. And my freedom was a wicker basket for the husks of shells. My freedom was a quilt of unspoken words...

(looks around)

A foreign kitchen, a winter light.

Seagulls very high in the clouds. How I ache.
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