A Halloween poem from poetry columnist Renée Eshel
A bat crawls into the mockery of my quilted breast, patented decoration for the slur of bodies strewn diagonally across my frame. I am reused – a patchwork bag of everything I have ever made, unmade, lost and found, collect yourself again. Always nursing at the seams, shrunken among tablespoons of caught breath, spiked thimbles, hemming the cold at the sink of my neck. You are persistent, loose, that one whispering stitch, skinny dipped in the spread of the void, sent to hold me attentive and unnerved. As I am barred, the quiet carousel jolts and twists, seizing on my floor, reminders of being willow, natural girl, summer girl, thin and taut as the storm erects and bends the dirt. There are now loops everywhere – in holes, broken crockery, my stories, and the midday news – the cornucopia limp on fake wood two days prior. They will say she was bubbly, they will say she lit up every room she walked in to, that she had so much to live for, too much, a melange of possibilities. Wilted and worn, refusing a graveyard of promises, held hands and missing teeth – this should’ve been warning enough – but she is two fingers deep in the door and one into the missing pie. She has become undone, unsightly. If a singular girl loses the seasons and licks the winters frost – if she sinks into the open legs of the earth to make her bed – if she braids her hair into pieces, sectioning the overflown moon, handing a magpie to everyone she has ever known – if she settles face down, hands clasped, enlarged cheeks, playing house in the moss – did the October bracken send her hints, did she listen, did she know of timely resurrection after all.
Illustration by Evie Dowden