Sharon Black


In Her Words

I’d have liked to be a girl, perhaps a snail.
I’d have liked to swallow the world.
I’d have liked to rename my fury and call it a giraffe.
I’d have liked to reach those tenderest leaves                  
and nip them from the sky.                           

I’d have liked to remember mouths,
my lover’s especially, more succulent than any fruit.
I’d have liked my hand to be steadier on his than an acacia bough,
despite the hot savanna winds
and the spates that drench the salt flats.

I’d have liked bush elephants to trample
my ribcage, the bones and all the voices in them
brimming with sand                                           
while the rest of my body was surging ahead.                     
I’d have liked to remember the journey.

I know I travelled by foot and that people
tried to stone me as I passed.
I’d have liked to leave behind the dusty
workings of my heart.
This wasn’t the landscape I had dreamed.

I’d have liked to gather in my pockets
the stones of those years
and to have one day built a house with them.
I’d have liked to spend my time
in shopping malls and offices and parties.

I have made my home in the land’s skin:                                
the bright stones and the black clay,
the rich loam and the packed ice
blue and gleaming
as it slides its inexorable way home.


(published in Magma, April 2017)

Copyright © Sharon Black 2017