no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark you only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than you breath bloody in their throats the boy you went to school with who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory is holding a gun bigger than his body you only leave home when home won’t let you stay.
no one leaves home unless home chases you fire under feet hot blood in your belly it’s not something you ever thought of doing until the blade burnt threats into your neck and even then you carried the anthem under your breath only tearing up your passport in an airport toilet sobbing as each mouthful of paper made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.
you have to understand, that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land no one burns their palms under trains beneath carriages no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled means something more than journey. no one crawls under fences no one wants to be beaten pitied
no one chooses refugee camps or strip searches where your body is left aching or prison, because prison is safer than a city of fire and one prison guard in the night is better than a truckload of men who look like your father no one could take it no one could stomach it no one skin would be tough enough
the go home blacks refugees dirty immigrants asylum seekers sucking our country dry niggers with their hands out they smell strange savage messed up their country and now they want to mess ours up how do the words the dirty looks roll off your backs maybe because the blow is softer than a limb torn off
or the words are more tender than fourteen men between your legs or the insults are easier to swallow than rubble than bone than your child body in pieces. i want to go home, but home is the mouth of a shark home is the barrel of the gun and no one would leave home unless home chased you to the shore unless home told you to quicken your legs leave your clothes behind crawl through the desert wade through the oceans drown save be hunger beg forget pride your survival is more important
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear saying- leave, run away from me now i dont know what i’ve become but i know that anywhere is safer than here
…yes and then I touched my finger to his lips to stroke away the cider, and put it to mine and our tongues went plunging – such a lush sweetness – the grass so springy-soft on the cliff and the waves crashing below and I had to catch my breath and the night’s perfume drowned that tang of lamb and I thought of my first kiss – what was his name? Johnny? – yes, his tongue so unexpected, wriggling like an eel, but this time it felt different, and even his silence didn’t matter when he stared, stared at my breasts and I let my hair slip loose like that Cape Town girl, and you have moonlight in your eyes, he said so I took him in my hand and he whispered, would I, ma petite phalène, he said and I thought I may as well, as well him as another, and the sea was swirling below us in a froth the sky gorgeous with stars and I suggested with my eyes that he ask again and I knew he would and I wondered if I’d say yes and then I urged him down and he found his way through all my layers and I might, I thought, yes I think I will say yes.
Mary is blue and turquoise standing on a hill geisha cheek and charring Mary is rain and dusk planting a bulb with her lips bare feet in the moss kindling Mary is doll white Mary with a lamb little love time still before she’ll lose him to the world the gurning jaws of heaven spread banquet for the men while she waits outside but they won’t know his yawn like a baby owl meerkat snuggle smell of yeast and balm Mary blue and brimming the lamb on her lips a soft moon crescent of impossible flesh Mary gold before the trade-off before he grew infinite and how she wore it then stately metallic secretly grieving the moon eyes that would follow her round the room Mary doesn’t remember what sex with god felt like only the sting of something snapped a broken instrument Joseph’s breath and beard three men unwrapping the infant screech of a goat Mary with thunder that’s worse before the coming like a week late period Mary blue immaculate blanketed boy on her chest gone and golden Mary would listen to all his sermons scan them for in jokes white smoke a secret message anything but this fucking public man Mary doesn’t feel holy stuffing pigskin in bloody knickers remembers how she bled for weeks after he came Mary full of wine not the warm waters of galilee assistant magi tipsy and trussed up leotard shine Mary and thirteen men on her right hand Mary with a lamb crackling on a spit when he blessed her she wanted to spit in his face tell him boy i’m the one who wiped away your shit when the moon came she sank her teeth in praying for the sweet bellied child she tasted wafer dust her blue mouth powder stuck dry as an empty church
First published in Tears in the Fence. Amy Acre is a poet, performer and freelance writer from London, and the editor of Bad Betty Press.