black shower head switched on

Poetry No. 91 – Gwen Bernick

The Rat

by Gwen Bernick 

The red steam in the shower. My body
in your hand like one foul egg.
We were children. Or,
I was a child
and you were an animal.
I was the milk
and you were the chunks.
I was the skin. The sickly,
low-hanging heat. The clogged tub drain.
The yellow stench, spit
in ropes. I was the rat in the bucket
and you were the flame beneath.
I was the bone and you
unset me. The skin on the surface
of the world pinched. Bitten.
The dogged strength
of my own rotten heart,
to bear me, to keep me so
wretchedly alive.
I was ash. I
was putty. I was the child,
and you were
above the child, you were
inside the child.
You knew if you asked me
I would have torn all
of the body from
between us. So my blood
could touch your hot stinking
blood. You didn’t
ask. I was trembling. You
were a nightmare. You were so
huge. You
cracked your knuckles before you started.

Gwen Bernick is a young poet from New Jersey who writes about bodies, egg shells, and hot weather. Since graduating this year with a bachelor’s degree in English and Philosophy, she spends her free time reading novels with pink covers, learning how to ride a bike, and squinting into the sun.

Photo by Pixabay on

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One thought on “Poetry No. 91 – Gwen Bernick

  1. Powerful, raw, and haunting. Would like to see more from this poet.

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