THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2011

Suzanna Fitzpatrick

PEPPERMINT BLOOD

The stinging kitchen cuts, the tiny smiles
engraved by thorns, the gritty scuff of stone;
most bleeds are small, domestic, meted by
the cosy slings and arrows of the home.

We do not choose to think of other blood
from surgery or accident; a flood
we tell ourselves won’t happen, that our skin
can be relied upon to hold us in.

Yet there are those of us who can’t resist
a curious knife or fingernail; who lift
the fragile epidermis, watch the red
puddle and rise, hypnotised, fed –

sometimes, brushing teeth, I bite my lip
to taste the bitterness of blood and mint.



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