“Knives, nails and keratin” – Poetry by Alice Riddell

La temperanza, Woman Holding a Knife –
Konstantinos Parthenis, 1938

“Knives, nails and keratin” is Alice Riddell‘s raw & piercing poem from our Winter 2019 issue.

{ X }

AFTER ONE TWO MANY,
She rips the nails from their beds
Like children on Christmas morning,
Eager to open
A fantasy of something else.
But there is only coal
And air exposed on rawness.

Having eleven stitches into her chin
Felt like a bow
Tied by her mother.
Smart for church,
All dressed up
In that robe,
Where blood ran down
Between her breasts.
Kitchen knife,
Two K’s
But the silence of the last haunts her,
Its noiselessness
Cuts flesh and screams.

She digs
With small white keratin,
Not the ripped ones
Some are saved
For this very occasion.
They mark
Like crescent moons
On a powder dusk sky,
The shoulder and neck canyon
The valley of palms and wrists
Reflected back.

Pinches;
Like ants
Like too-tight denim
Like winter winds
Like plucking eyebrows
Like her sister,
Her mother made her wear mittens to school
Because she nipped other kids,
Nip sounds better than pinch
Pinch is only one letter away from punch.
She painted the most beautiful blues,
Lapis Lazuli slaps
Violent violets
Sucker for shallow skulls.

She watched the glow
Of the cigarette lighter
Its receptacle invitation,
Its perfect finger shaped hole
To burn off those remaining.
Licked by invisible flames
Sucked out of soreness
By salvia,
By means of salvation.
Fingertips aflame are like burning bridges,
They frizzle and melt into themselves
Only to regrow again more painfully.

{ X }

ALICE RIDDELL is originally from the U.K. and is currently studying at NYU’s Center of Experimental Humanities. She is Editor-in-Chief of an interdisciplinary journal called Caustic Frolic and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Breadcrumbs Mag, Vol. 1 Brooklyn and Anthropolitian. Alice has also read her work as part of the Dead Rabbits Reading Series. She is an avid table tennis player.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s