Shorter works

Permission to complain

Is it time to complain
Yet I should feel at home
Inside my unease

The streaking teenage boy
Is wearing dazzling cheeks
Like constellations of innocence

Tangoing through my mind
All alone
Yet sweeping me skyward, acquiescent

Should I protest
Should I dislodge these words from my throat
Is it yet my time

I look for permission
Leave to utter a mythical noise
Without souring the vigilant faces of stone

Letting escape this cry from my soles
A wild creature tearing up through me
Out through my mouth

I want to shout it
Is it yet time?
Is it now?

Can I yet work this flesh of my neck
Fashion my own indescribable noise
Release it to taunt me without mercy

Is it now?
Can I do it?
Is the choice any longer mine—

With a man’s joy deep inside me
Finding my throat as an explosion breathes air
And forming its words from within me:
“Yes, say it, say it, say it, for Christ’s sake, say it—”

Is it time yet?
To complain?
To groan, to moan, to shout it out
To finally release this confined creature?

—I wonder

As I find my throat
Performing an alien manoeuvre
And my spirit lighting the sky
Certain as a lighthouse beam

[This poem was written under the pseudonym of Mary Shardness, who is the heroine in a novel that I have not yet written.]