Last Rites


He always got what he wanted
blut, knochen
he was my first.

He wanted me brutal as the German tongue
so I bleached myself
Aryan blonde
wore arse-skimming skirts
knee-high boots and leather
let him fuck me till it hurt
he liked it best when I bled
he said I was the one
said he’d never loved anyone
like me
so I let him bleed me dry
until my soul was starched
parched and brittle as deadwood
but I wouldn’t die for him
I’d kill for him instead
and dance across the biting bones
of half-grown bodies
children we’d half-known
it wouldn’t be quick and it wouldn’t be clean
they’d pay with their scrawny little lives
to keep our romance alive.


Ambling, wind-bitten with trembling toes,
cold-blooded gales snatched at my skirt
and snuck into my shoes as I dragged them through the dirt.
Standing on Saddleworth,
blue-lipped as those in their thin-roofed graves,
not hearing the screams in the blank expanse,
muted in one slice of a knife
by the man of my dreams,
who came back with his spade
and bleeding blade, or string
if he was feeling exciting.
Came back inviting me to a funeral in reverse;
I’d get to know them better in death
than when they were alive in my Renault hearse.
I’d see my breath hang over their faces,
as I knelt next to the pit he’d made,
holding the hot water bottle body of my dog
and posing for a photo.


But I wanted more;
wanted mine to be the last face they saw
before I slashed short their life,
to see my eyes flash on the steel
as I held the hard and throbbing handle.

It was the only way
to stoke the flames
on the burning pyre
of our desire
to feel his grip on my hips
and the sharp stab
and slide of him inside
filling me to the brim
until I leaked hot thick salt
from every pore
and screamed to die.

And then,
when he pushed me aside,
I’d beg him to do it again.


Myra, Monster, Devil’s Wife –
heartless, soulless,
cold and hard as ice.
that’s what they said –
but what would they know?
And what was I supposed to do
after they threw away the key,
blub every night?
Start a children’s charity?
I wasn’t going to get out anyway.

As I lay awake that night
I knew the grey rot
cement sky
ceiling of my cell
was the lid of hell
and I writhed
imbibing the flames
sweating and moaning
his name
as my pulsing pink
tumour of heart
shuddered and stilled
my eyes boring through
the hoary lid
I laughed my last and said:

bury me on the moors.

Rebecca Ross


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