2020 Poetry Competition Winner

 

“The Case Against Pockets for Women” by Jo Gatford

 

just think

what they might put into them 

hexing herbs and corvid feathers

egg shells and cobwebs 

money and thus autonomy

– heaven forfend

 

wedding rings, slipped out of sight

seditious pamphlets, contraceptive pills 

masturbatory devices and (whisper it) 

menstrual accoutrements of which 

we’d rather not know the details

 

their fingers

which could be doing

all sorts of things in there

unseen

 

hip flasks. hat pins. and knuckle dusters 

spiked with kitten ears 

in a range of cute colours

mace, milkshakes, acid, tasers 

a phone, poised to dial 

a friend, a mother, the police

an app, poised to alert

if she doesn’t press the icon

to confirm she made it home

 

teeth

 

tiny little rows of them

intersected like a shark

marsupium dentata: the devourer

a fatal consummation 

even with lips sewn shut

 

a pocket full of blood

seeping into the seams

never to be scrubbed clean

 

just think

of a woman

hands tucked within

those innocuous folds

 

what might she be hiding

what might she be thinking

when she looks at you

 

a fingernail

resting against a match head

about to scrape

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