“Cracked Sestina” By Paula K Lewis-Gamble

Danny says he’ll sell from under
-neath me. Where does the magic go
when the house is pulled away? Anyway,
I believe him, so I stitch my lips to
my eyes by the corners, and scramble the
little yellow suns with a pinch of black

pepper. I walked into a purple-black
bruise again. He doesn’t under-
stand why I can’t just be more careful. The
baby is stirring and I turn to go
but Danny curls his fist into
a wall I could run into. Anyway,

what’s a man gotta do for some respect? Anyway,
the baby is crying and Danny spits black
coffee in my face then hands me a cloth to
make it disappear. We keep it clean, here, under
-stand. My breasts let down and I will the milk to go
backward, to stay in the

warmth of my body, but the
mother in me needs something to love, anyway
he is no longer looking so I go
to my baby, I nuzzle her against my black
-ened cheek and pull the nipple from under
my T-shirt. Hush now, my love, go back to

sleep. I sing a quiet lullaby to
us both and we are safe here, cradled between the
days, in the corner of the room. One eye under
its swollen lid is focussed on the door, anyway.
Everything is still now. In my dream there is a black
-bird on the cherry tree. I want to go

where the little bird goes. I want to go
so far, so high, that he won’t have a wall to
hold against me. Once, there was a single black
cloud in a blue-sky kinda life. Where does the
magic go when the sky is pulled away? Anyway,
this is how it is for now. Just me and her, under

his watchful eye. Go to sleep, my love, the
nights are too long to cling to. Anyway,
remember we are blackbirds now. Heads under wings.


Paula K Lewis-Gamble is a writer from South Wales, UK, who has been published by Envision Arts, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Harness Magazine.

She mostly wears pyjamas.

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