NOT THE PORTRAIT GAME

Based on the poem Not The Furniture Game by Simon Armitage

Her hair is dyed with the last time her mother touched her head,

and her roots are the days spent apart.

Her face is a cratered moon flung in distant orbit.

Her eyeballs are two white-headed mushrooms

and her ears Snowdrops in a frosted ground

Her lips the last squeak of the dead rat she buried in foliage by the concrete.

and her smiles tiny hands against a train window as it pulls away.

Her neck a white newt, eyeless pulse beneath a film of skin,

her shoulders the men who have chased her home,

and her moles every kiss she dared press to her cold reflection.

Her arms are lighthouse beams,

Her shoulder blades the rocks that ships were dashed upon in darkness

and her breath the Ocean’s ravenous depth.

Her breasts the cliffs renowned for suicide,

her tongue a pink life boat,

her collarbones bridges across the gorge of her skin

and her freckles streetlights in the distance.

Her wrists are tree stumps,

and her veins initials carved in a crude attempt at permanence.

Her palms are crime scene,

Her fingers an upsurge of worms that lick rain from soiled cheeks

and her nails her sisters baby teeth,

her own are tombstones for children she believes she killed.

Her brain is a jellyfish shivering on the sand,

Her ears ring with the silence of drones and her migraines are bomb strikes.

Her ribcage is a fallout shelter, people clamber inside her.

Her spine is that of a well-creased book that always falls open at the wrong page.

Her heart is a bubble she blew in her back garden when she was four.

Her lungs are aborted fetuses, miscarried in her chest.

Her guts the plate of meat he made her sit and watch him eat

and her ovaries are the flowers her mother pressed flat between the pages of heavy books.

Her cunt the wishing well she’d thrown her last coins into.

Her hips are every punch she had thrown

and her arse is the heart-print she once doodled.

Her shadow is what she wears to go out dancing

and her tendons are guitar strings.

Her panic attacks are a vacuum, her baby brother blue .

Her love was a rottwheiler with its teeth punched out

and her grief the night they put it to sleep.

Her scars are the goldfish her dad let starve to death.

Her legs are wind turbines

and her knees the last ice caps melting.

The balls of her feet are fossils

and her footprints are whole existences that birth at contact and die at release.

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