Poetry | I leave myself in the bull-filled room by Alice Merry

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Alice Merry


I leave myself in the bull-filled room

 

i.

 

The bull fills the room……………………………………………………………..throws
its horns………….wide………………………………………………………….handfuls
of barnacle……………..tapering…………into slick ivory points……………..medieval    chessmen  spearing…………………………………………………………the paintwork
……………………………………………………………………………………………the bull
is slick dense its skin pungent with grease…………………………………..the smell
………..of coffee grounds………black pepper……………………………the angular bronze
of its backside .nudges the walls……………………lowers the thickly
veined swing……of its haunchesinto a crouchhooves
unsettle the floor
…..the girl
must not touch the bull
…..must fit herselfin his gaps
the game…..children play….where shapes
must be fittedsnuginto same-shaped holes only…..the girl-

shaped holes in the room keep movingsteering her
around the scalding weight………of the bull’s shoulders……edging……her
to the wall hyper
….aware of the centimetres……..between
her chest……and the flickof the bull’shoovesshe findsa space

framed between left…… rear leg and tailhead ducked at the
height of its swaying belly its
….phallus
…..the room’s inevitable
centre of swollen gravity hauling all…….the thick air
in
……other days

the girl musttouch the bullmust   slather it
in oil ease the creasing of its skin must                                              rub
the bull’s shank plead its   hooves                                  …..to calm break
beer bottles over its horns let the liquid slide                           down the in
and out of the bull’s nostrils         its breath      fruiting                                                        ………stale ghhrrrummphhrumpphh against her chest
the girl .. must hold
her palm                 to the     muscles            switching like butter
under the thumb swell of the bull’s                silken temples
must stroke its Rococo      brown lashes                as they close      feel out
the milky folds under the bull’s jaw find              the largest          vein
hold                 the pulse                            as it slows      must allow
her limbs to become        granular to soften in on one another tuck
..her hands and feet                      away                feel herself become a shifting ..handful        of rice quick

to find handful-of-rice shaped holes

 

 

ii.

 

I’m sorry

 

girl in the room with a bull
………..………..who wants to be a handful

………..………..………………….of rice I can’t solve this room your search

………..………..………..………..………………….for a few centimetres

of safety           since I left

 

………..………..the room of too much bull and
………..………..………………….too scared girl I’ve held this cube
………..………..………..………..………..………..in my stomach
………..………..some days
………..………..………………….in my throat
………..………..………..………..………..………..some days

I place it on the ground and watch the game
………..………..from the outside the bull
………..………..………………….looks

………..………..………..………..………………….like a stranger I can smell the sweet sour ………..………..………..………..………………….pepper of him but can’t translate

………..………..………..………..………………….the edge

 

of his breathing can’t
………...remember
………..………..why you’re still                 there

 

iii.

 

The bull lives in South London
………..writes artificial intelligence software for a food delivery company
………..eats cut-price take outs with three flatmates loud sporty types

………..stained the expensive leather jacket he bought with the girl’s credit card
………. tries to remember her ASOS password

………..goes to the Ritzy Picturehouse mostly on his own
………..thinks of the girl when Brixton Road is damp with leaves
or when his card is rejected

The girl moves west the girl
………..buys a magenta coat and heeled black boots
………..polishes them to a perfect shine

………..walks into town takes Bath Road
………..the yolk of each streetlight demanding yes   yes   yes

………..looks for anyone to touch her
………..touches anyone

………..presses rice to her tongue smells pepper
………..on the bottoms of her feet

………..in the cracks of her bathroom tiles
………..leans back as it spreads her nostrils
opens her brain

The last time the bull calls he asks for money
………..the girl might give him the money or she might take three trains to Brixton
………..and shoot him square between the horns
she doesn’t have the money and she doesn’t have a gun

Alice Merry is a British poet living in Lima, Peru. She has previously been published by the Emma Press and Orbis and has performed at events including the Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

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