Lizzie Harris: Domestics

An excerpt from Domestics

Children were born and raised here
-Eavan Boland
i.

I was dreaded
like a deadline: a thin string
tying her to death.

Her body made a scratching post,
a melon cut through
at the button, inside
a collection to seed.

How much smoother
would she be had I not formed
like a wrecking ball floating
in her womb?

I’m sorry I didn’t know I was not yet alive.

ii.

She tells me there were flowers
but I know there were not flowers.

Says, you would chop the onion;
you would grate the cheese.

At night, I smell only the metal
of the buckle, the metal of blood.

At a glance it grows—poppies
sprouting from the tiles,

the bruises are bulbs
planted just beneath the skin.

iii.

A dish broke in the kitchen:
my stepmother’s crying and running
for the home’s smallest corners.
Linen closet, cactus garden.

At once, she is no longer a jewel,
a teenage girl who grew
his child in the stomach.
Now she is a bird’s nest wrapped
in clothes, hiding at your feet—

hide hide—wait for the sound
of fists against the body.

iv.

A year ago
I’d have thought myself
a crocus: impatient
and brave. Now I am a stuffed
doll, an old mop
sitting in tin.

Don’t try too hard
to remember the ugly
.

The teeth are collecting in my hands.

Don’t say anything. You can’t
say anything
.

The mouth empties, the taste is marrow.



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