Tuesday, 15 March 2016

A poem by Louisa Adjoa Parker

Rag Doll

How they throw her to one another
these men she goes to,
laugh as she soars between them
like a rag doll,
all long cotton arms
and woolly braids trying
to stream gracefully in the air.

As she lands at their feet
they prod life into her, these men.
When they call her a beauty she smiles,
her painted dolly-pink mouth
not quite reaching
her black spider-lashed eyes.

She tries to suck
drops of love from them, this doll-girl,
like a baby sucks milk,
tries to fill the hole in her cotton-wool heart,
wants the smell of sea-salt sweat
to take the place of her tears.

How prettily she flits between them
this woman-doll, a butterfly basking
in a sun of admiration
though she wakes each lonely morning
with all her stuffing gone.

(published in Salt-sweat and Tears 2007 and the Forward Book of Poetry 2008)

Louisa Adjoa Parker is a writer of Ghanaian/English heritage who has lived in the West Country since she was 13. She writes poetry, fiction and black history, and began writing to explore feelings of difference. Her first poetry collection, Salt-sweat and Tears was published in 2007, and she has recently had her pamphlet, Blinking in the Light, published by Cinnamon Press. Her work has appeared in various publications including Envoi, Wasafiri, Ink Sweat and Tears, Ouroboros, Closure (Peepal Tree) and Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe). She was highly commended by the Forward Prize. Louisa is currently working on two novels.

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