A poem by Victoria Roskams: I Won’t

Not for a jot: I won’t do it.

I won’t be a soundbite in the dark

For him to tell over coasters, table-tops,

Over the counter, over the bar,

Over the wall I’ll look. I will

Find my pound of flesh in the end.

Something I can fashion with my hands,

Artless I know, but into features of men –

By which I mean us too, “why,

Our language is always thinking of you –

Our greetings-cards say it, our magazines say it,”

It’s a shame none of your policies do.

If I dress to the nines like her will I stop

Looking at myself through your eyes?

Looking at myself through sore eyes, I tell you,

It’s more tiring than you realise.

I have nothing to throw my love-darts against –

May I use you as a sounding board?

Just for simple advice, you understand.

I’d never hurt you, my centre, my lord,

My north on the compass, all I’m worth,

But – cities built on dust can crumble to that.

If I say I’m his my body will crumble

And all I’ll be is it, what,

A word he says in fits of illness,

In the chorus of a catchy song.

Well forgive me for not giving cause for contagion

Forgive me for not singing along.

To sing my own name, wave my own flag,

Even for him I’ll not do:

When all the reward is reduction

I know a hundred things I’d rather do.




Illustration by Lille Allen

Originally published in Issue 11 of That’s What She Said Magazine. To read the full magazine, visit:  https://issuu.com/uobfemsoc/docs/twss_issue_11


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