Looking for Louise

I didn’t care
at first.
She was neither here nor there.
But before I knew it
she was everywhere.

I heard about her;
horse’s mouth,
and all before,
I knew it was childish,
had my ear to the floor.
I heard it was unhealthy,
but I didn’t care –
wanted more.

I gorged on whispers
gluttonous ears
with adipose lobes
gobbled up scraps
feasting on fat and rind
any murmur or mutter
from the fluttering scrap book
of your memory
I could hear the shutters of your mind
flickering and stuttering
with her voice playing
over each reel
peeling through the top shelf scenes
and seeping through the sheets
the music of your wet dreams
the quickening beats
and breathing
drum of my lungs
with the thrash of the headboard
her laugh crashed and broke like a wave
and when I came
I heard her moan your name.

She lingered like garlic
on my fingertips
her scent slipped
through the darkness
as you slept
crept like the burnt up flesh
of a secret cigarette
it wouldn’t budge
from your shirt
and you must have known I could smell it there
and here
the festering rot
of the onion squirrelled away in my plant pot
the fish in my vent
the dog shit on my shoe
that unseen stench
the only person who couldn’t smell it was you.

I traced her like Braille
all over your skin
each pimple and wrinkle
imagined her cold
frigid fingers
on your prunes and your winkle
each mark I etched
on your back
only deepened the tag.

She left an acrid taste
in the purse my mouth
like bile hacked up
and swallowed
milk sallow and soured
on my citrus scoured palette
she rusted my tongue
made lemons of my words
and each crumb of mention
each titbit of tattle
was guzzled down whole
by this swollen toad nesting in my throat
kicking like a foetus to get out
the L word
I could hear, I could taste, smell, touch
I just couldn’t bring my gullet to vomit it up.

When I finally found my tormentor,
stitched together –
Frankenstein’s monster –
I was more afraid
of who had made her.

Rebecca Rosss


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