M for Murder, Astrid Bridgwood
CW: death, murder, violence
You, devil. Killer. Man in the dark
Finger to his lips knife to my neck: you
Snake and gravedigger. Altar-desperate and robbed,
What does this make me but a witness?
I bear sight to each body you drag, pulled by the ankles
clawing up the floorboards: you
tracking mud bleeding on our carpet.
I hear your shuffle through the phone, echoing
Another empty house. Windows yawning to the soul.
I am Odysseus mast-lashed, stigmata-stricken
Nailed to your palms. Desperate storm-fraught
Ocean, sirens gagging on wine-dark sea
Your mouth, teeming with theft. I’ll burn you down.
Whispered promises into black air breathless
Not so much fury as prayer as hope
you’d die for this. There would be no After.
Bait me as you loved me, absent kisses
Swallow my spit and choke on it.
Leashed like a dog in your fist, here I am! Kneeling
Salted and curling. Here is a place! Without honor.
Here we are! Bodies slain piled at your feet,
Ruin ruin ruin me ravaged. Come back burnt-barren,
dig up our grave, her pretty face. See how it rotted.
Body like a funeral home, cold flesh bloodless
Parasite. You love with a mirror-flat soul
Empty hollow desperate and thirsty starving
So used to hunger you mistake it for beauty
Find another woman ravenous, live there in her skin
Find water in her ribs: drink steady palms cupped
around her devotion like miracle,
body full to spilling with reflection.
You smiled, knife sunk in to the hilt,
Stepped over my body, a doll over her dead dog.
Smiled with your perfect teeth perfect mouth
Left me empty-handed and gasping like an artery.
Table stretching between us, closed eyes full plates
There was never a home here. Bed broken under my feet,
Worms swimming through your stomach hungry
A snake swallowing its tail.
Astrid Bridgwood is a nineteen-year-old poet from North Carolina whose work has been described as 'visceral and frightening.' You can find her featured in Ember Chasm Review, All Guts No Glory Mag and Anti-Heroin Chic Mag, among others; most recently, she was a semifinalist for the 2021 James Applewhite Poetry Prize. Follow her on Twitter @astridsbridg.