after Annette Messager's Story of Dresses
I am corseted in seal-bone to fit into this dress of ugly taffeta.
Inside my glass coffin I smell his skin beneath my fingernails,
the salt of my own body, the paint from the wall on which I hang.
It is cold here in the gallery, colder than the East Coast Scottish winter
and I am visible but not visible like hoarfrost on a morning fresh with snow.
You sound out the word in French that he pinned upon me:
and something in your harsh southern vowels breaks both glass and spell.
A slow bleed falls from my right wrist onto the paper, blotting out
his promissory note.
or something ice inside it that your star-hard voice may also melt or shatter.
Photo: Naomi Woddis http://www.flickr.com/photos/naomiwoddis/collections/72157622849627811/
Anne Welsh’s work has appeared in journals including Poetry News, Agenda Broadsheet and English and is forthcoming on http://www.tate.org.uk
About the publication:
Stigmata was first published in Seeking Refuge, edited by Jan Fortune-Wood (Cinnamon Press, 2010), in support of the London Cold Weather Shelters. This is one of a series of anthologies to grow out of Ruth O'Callaghan's events at Lumen and Camden which bring together well-known poets and those just starting out.