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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Sunday 22 October 2006

The Broken Virgin

by Susan Abraham

And so she sat now in her innocence
and wept like a woman
whose body stretched too old for love,
whose delicious sheen
turned past the tide to go elsewhere,
who lost her skin somewhere on
the high slippery sea of grief where
she tripped and fell
on a needle-sharp shell that would
gorge her flesh like human sticks and
smash the trollop in her waiting heart.

And when she had thought they
must part while soaking in
the unseen bloodstain on the fabric
that had clothed her
purity on the bright light in the slashing
poison of the night to make a wall of
shame and that was how he found her
his broken virgin, near her hut in the
river with her
finished game, and her shattered
splintered name.

Her nudity jarred him in the eye when
he played I-spy to make him stare
shiver and quickly catch the glimmer
before it went away again and she no
longer remembered him. But today,
look how tame her breasts, like tiny
cones and silent to growing ambitions
and now still untouched by the
pull of desire, how thin her legs
had wheedled and swung past him
with nary a scream.

And that was how he found her at
last, at last never to return to the
hollow of her sorrow where a
damsel's moment breaks and love
catches up on its terrifying ache,
now he must turn around and
run away again, would the sea wash
up her long black hair into his
even as he sought to remember its
scent like a hidden magnolia a soft
unsuspecting rose and the tide
would finally rise up to his nose
as he drowned in the everlasting
moment of her blistering
sexual burn.