The rehearsals are over.
The waiting room has been emptied.
The flower-strewn teacups will not be served.
Small talk will sit like vinegar on the lip.
There will be no detour or bypass.
No backspace. No delete.
It will be a quick hurricane –
this handful of syllables.
The living room will fall silent.
The ceiling will seem made of dust.
The carpet will be turned over to reveal a mountain.
There will be a parade and scrutiny of elephants.
There will be a faltering at the entrance.
Watch the gate swing open.
A scarlet innocent.
A beating corpse.
Sweep off the diversions.
Look unblinking at the changed story.
It will feel as a startling modulation.
A record playing backward to reveal angels.
A new line will be added to the map
beneath the eyes. A new string to the grit.
Older yet younger, wiser yet clumsier,
steel with frailty, at once clean.
And standing, resplendent in black –
This work captures the moment when a woman reveals something – namely, her intention to leave a toxic relationship. It is a poem about confrontation, courage and empowerment. The domestic life has been disturbed. Old, fearful habits are being shed. A new, more truthful and authentic life is about to begin. in many ways, it is a call to courage, and to an uncompromised strength of purpose.