Adventures in Shaving
I have shaved my whole body
I have become like a cannibal, consumed this body
This is my hunting grounds—first I skin it
This creature I call body
Then it emerges, new and bare, still smarting
I examine it in a mirror, now hairless, my body
It is just gooseflesh, I can smell the woozy lines of blood
Left like scores in an old school desk, new lines across my slaughterfield body
So foreign to myself and yet so familiar. I feel like Bathsheba
Bathing in the mid-afternoon, I shiver and shake inside my body
I hear the slide of bare flesh but I do not feel beautiful
I feel plucked, a slaughtered piece of veal, skinned meat of body.
This disquiet will pass I’m sure.
I wrap my arms around myself desperate to surpass, supress that body
I find in the mirror now some stranger imitation of myself
Something more woman. The marker of femininity is an exposed body,
I run my fingers across my flesh but all I find is nakedness
I miss my thick dark hairs. I have been unkind to this body
Poor importunate thing that only wanted to please me.
I imagine my mother’s voice, the undaunted solidity of her body
Freya, my mother says, what have you done to yourself?
Beautiful you were always beautiful. And I look down at this thing I slew. This body.
On my way to an appointment, I found I didn’t know which way
I was supposed to go. I didn’t normally head out this way
But circumstances compelled me, not a great reader of maps
By the time I reached the transport museum I was lost, calling out which way
But no-one knew, still I went on. Behind the double-intersection
Was a small park, one that google maps had determined was the right way
And once I had crossed it I could see that they were right,
Already visible half way across the park was the sign confirming it was this way,
Still I stopped there on the way back, there was something lovely
About the ducks, that sat in the pond. I noticed it on the way
They weren’t unusual ducks, but stood by the pond suddenly,
With nothing but time I found myself taken aback by their ways
The toing and froing. Without anything to offer them they took little interest
In me, it wasn’t serenity that caught my eye but the way
They existed so much apart from me. Those ducks are still the best antidote
To solipsism I could ever think of. I couldn’t invent the way
They moved, to my uneducated eye it was like watching clouds
Passing across each other. These were not graceful creatures. There was no way
That anyone would want to write them into a romantic ballad
They made too much noise, and yet I could not look away
I found myself naming them, as if to own them. To make sense of them
And the last one I gave my own name, and I watched it swim away
Freya Jackson is a young writer from Leeds, she has previously been published in Writing Maps and Empty Oaks and was a finalist for the 2015 Princemere Poetry Prize.