mary magdalene – by Amy Kinsman

                                              at the burial, they discover
                                                        you sing ave verum
                                            just as sweet as joy division,
                 voice wishing for resurrection
                      like a sudden apparition of birds,
                      like forgiveness,
                      like baby’s breath grown among the gravestones
                                                        and digitalis.

andrew’s hand
        strokes over the swell of your belly.

who sired the bastard babe to be?
         they catcall in the streets,
      but before all else the child is yours.
even god’s son raised him higher
        better than he could have been before.

                                                                                whore.

                      when they speak of broken things, they speak of
                        japanese pottery, grounded doves, hearts –
                                      never the creak of a bedroom door,
                             bruises worn like pearls, everything you have
                                          shoved in an overnight bag.

                                          wicked woman, witch,
                                                  cursed, possessed, lain with the devil
                                            temptation in a too-short skirt –

                                            but what of wicked fathers? wicked husbands?

                                                         you were dark-eyed and drunken;
                                                   yelling your sins from the top of your lungs;
                                                                          divorced and dancing
                                                                under god’s gaze. he might have played guitar
                                                       but you, bravest among them, banged the drum.

and now alone again in the gardens, always,
               earthly delight, prayers for heaven,
                  paradise, first wild, now withered.
    falling’s such a heady scent.
you light another cigarette;
   shed eyeliner tears for happy endings,
           saviours
                  and the girl worth saving.

he promised these things weren’t your fault

                    but it doesn’t feel like it.
                    he promised. he promised.

                                                           woman, why are you weeping?
                                                   who do you seek?

                                  you kiss his cheeks, his temples,
                                   press your face into his neck, run your fingers
                                         through his hair, earth in every fold.

                    don’t be surprised,
                           it was you who taught me how to rise
                     from the pit they dug for me.

 

 

Amy Kinsman (they/them) is a genderfluid poet and playwright from Manchester. As well as being the founding editor of Riggwelter Press and associate editor of Three Drops From A Cauldron, they are also the host of the regular, Sheffield open mic Gorilla Poetry. Their debut pamphlet & was joint-winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2017.