Sunday, 3 November 2013

heart (w)rap by Shamshad Khan

heart (w)rap

i strap my heart
bind it strong

was how i presented it to you

how you questioned me
on what was in this strange parcel

first tentatively
and then held it in your hands
and feeling the warmth
and faint beat
you guessed

and since
have tugged at the string
i so carefully bound
in protection

how you teased open
layer after layer
unravelled it all
until it lay open before you

how you were repulsed
when you saw
the pale blood drained flesh

i too drew back

hardly recognising the half healed mass
before us
disgusted by the scars
you did not ask
in what battle they were won

but fled

“the faint hearted”
i whispered to myself
“won’t inherit”

and began again
to bind.

The Fire People: A Collection of Contemporary Black British Poets, ed. by Lemn Sissay (Edinburgh: Paperback Press, 1998), 59-60.

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