I have become utterly numb.
My skin has hardened to cement,
a statuesque shell of dissociation.
Blood streaks my skin, and bruises blossom,
but no pain can get in.
This cocoon has petrified itself around me,
solidifying under every slight,
every glancing blow, every slice.
I watch the cigar burn down
until the embers graze my calloused fingers,
just to see if I can still burn.
The singed scent fills my nostrils
and yet coldly I only look on.
A laceration, a punch, a kiss from the whip –
and still nothing is all I feel.
Each nerve is dead, stillborn in my veins.
Love ricochets against me, unrecognised –
too foreign a concept to a fossilised soul.
Only the nectar drips of wine seep through
the stone of my scar tissue;
a red tear leaking through my mask.



The violets are too violent –
candied and sickening.
I lie here, vacant and white,
knowing nothing.

The forest tweets and twitters
around me,
muttering paranoid delusions
and dark nothings.

I have become nothing.
It’s a long time since
I was even an anyone.
Substanceless –

I drift down the stream,
facing an uncaring sky.
The fish tickle and nibble at my feet,
trying to wake me.

Nothing will work.
I desperately clutch the flowers,
my buoyant wreath, but the daisies escape,
their soothing white gone.

Now it’s just me and the violets –
facing off.
Their majestic purple wounds me,
a sharp reminder.

They are delicate
yet they penetrate me,
those heart shaped leaves
filling me with rue.

I long to rip them apart,
shred their hopes,
like the man in black did mine
over and over.

They stay with me,
clamped within my hands,
my corpse bride bouquet –
a life I’ll never have.

I thought they were gone,
their modest blooms
shrivelled and withered away.
I wish they were.

Their scent chokes my watery lungs,
tugging at my throat like a fisherman’s hook,
drowning in their pollen –
over-concentrated like a perfumed whore.

The reeds wrap around me,
a straitjacket restraining,
halting my journey downstream.
A mouse in a trap left to be the cat’s plaything.

My pallid corpse floats,
a mermaid ensnared in a net,
ready to become the prototypical madwoman.
There is an art to suicide, after all.


About the Poet:

Kirsty A. Niven lives in Dundee, Scotland. Her writing has appeared in anthologies such as Landfall, A Prince Tribute and Of Burgers and Barrooms. She has also featured in several journals and magazines, including The Dawntreader, Cicada Magazine, Dundee Writes and Word Fountain. Kirsty’s work can also be found online on sites such as Cultured Vultures, Atrium Poetry and Nine Muses Poetry.