THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2013

Sharon Black

MATRYOSHKA

I come from a line of strong women:
Earth mothers whittled and painted
with colours fit for a Tsarina –
gilt-edged primaries, corvid-black hair,
a bud of mouth and these high Slavic cheekbones
with their puffs of pink.

I’ve perfected this pose, thrown it so many times
that even when you look inside –
my body opening Caesarean-wide
then wider still till I split in two –
you’ll find replica after
polished replica.

At my centre: the nub of me, solid.
The only part that still remembers tenderness
is my birth wound, untreated balsa:
smooth, pale as the forearm
of a longed-for child,
its veins an ornamental blue.



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