John Ellis – by Natalie Scott

Executioner of Edith Thompson, 1923

 

She had to be carried to the shed
but it wasn’t like they said
that she “disintegrated as a human creature”.

She was restrained and intoxicated
so it couldn’t have been like they said
that she “screamed all the way”.

She did bleed from her private parts
but it wasn’t like they said
that her “insides fell out”.

She was autopsied and declared
so it couldn’t have been like they said
that “the drop was a coffin birth”.

 

 

 

 

Natalie Scott is a Teesside-based poet and educator with a PhD in Creative Writing. She has collections published by Indigo Dreams, Bradshaw Books and Mudfog, as well as many appearances in literary journals including Ambit, Agenda and Orbis. Her collection Berth – Voices of the Titanic was awarded runner-up for the Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition, 2011. Her latest project Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison was awarded funding from the Arts Council of England.

Hospital Night Wardress – by Natalie Scott

1909

You want to repay the favour
in one of the only ways possible
and I’m in need of love.

Your fingertips, cold and tentative
raise gooseflesh over my chest
as you gently rub.

The balm melts to liquid on my skin
and you watch, noting my reaction
to each touch.

I see your lips steadily twist
into a smile when there is no more
left to spread.

My flesh is raw as a prime cut
seasoned with camphor. Its scent
clings to our skin,

ready for the tasting. Later I will
smell its earthy tang while you
lather it off your hands.

You redo my dress, carefully, carefully,
so the oils don’t stain. We resume our
roles. No one has seen.

 

 

Natalie Scott is a Teesside-based poet and educator with a PhD in Creative Writing. She has collections published by Indigo Dreams, Bradshaw Books and Mudfog, as well as many appearances in literary journals including Ambit, Agenda and Orbis. Her collection Berth – Voices of the Titanic was awarded runner-up for the Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition, 2011. Her latest project Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison was awarded funding from the Arts Council of England.