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Aug 2020
The first plague that sunk into us told us how to see red,
the anger, either alien or overfamiliar, turned inwards
into our stomachs, acidic and bubbling until we choked
on the waters, and still we begged the Nile
for relief, ******* salt from our tears.

And then there was discomfort, slipping into our beds at night.
The women, familiar with the dissimilarity of abject slime
merely sighed in the expectation of their husbands,
but the sensation screamed of newness to the men, and they ran.

When lice came, we scratched ourselves raw and there was redness again,
until the streets were serenaded by shrieks, and long fingernails became fitting
for women who sewed new clothes when the others ripped theirs apart.

The wild animals were like old friends who tore apart already broken bodies;
this was the time that the women sang each other to sleep,
all we could do was offer meek comfort to each other,
telling stories of how this would never have happened
were it not for the pride that never touched us.

Women worried when pestilence came, unforgiving and without discrimination
to our livestock; without food, we starved ourselves intentionally,
hoping with fragile limbs that there would never be enough meat
on our bodies to substitute for sustenance.

Pained enough, we thought we were used to it when our bodies turned against us,
without anger this time, only vile sores that burst in the dead of night;
we soothed each other’s wounds, our hands familiar with battle scars
and hoped that it would be enough.

The end of days could not come faster than when the fire rained down on us.
Some brave women, tired of being sacrifices, ran towards the flames,
either weary and half-finished already, or aching to find a burning bush
through which salvation may lie for those who did no wrong.

An attack on our senses droned into nothingness as locusts fell,
their bodies used to punish us, a concept of which we wept for,
we knew intimately, and sobbed not for the chess board
but for the pawns who must always fall first.

It was strange, how much darkness felt like reprieve,
in those three liminal days where our songs were unburdened
and rang free across the devastated plains;
oh, those days we sang so loudly that it was almost over.
They were almost free, and we were almost able to go back
to how we were different before.

But tragedy seeps slowly in the night on the burning wings of angels,
and our firstborns were stolen.
I, still young, did not bear the grief of mothers, but I was the third child.
It’s harder to be going than to be gone.
From a collection of poetry I wrote for a creative writing portfolio in second year of university, titled 'New Rugged Cross'.
Gabriel
Written by
Gabriel  23/M/UK
(23/M/UK)   
253
   Grace
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