Lessons | Christina Thatcher

Lesson #1

The day she severed
the head of a snake
with the toy shovel
I used in the garden
she turned to me
and said – quiet and strong –
that in order to protect
our family we must sometimes
do unfair and gruesome things.

 

Lesson #2

You told me once
with one swift movement
like spiders on a pillow,
never to touch fire –
from a stove or otherwise.
Your fingers will blister,
you said, and young girls
are only ever as good
as their skin.

 

Lesson #4

After we bumped into
my crush in the market
she clasped my arm
and said, If you ever
have sex with that boy
God will leave you –
swift and cold –
like a ship swept
under the sea.

 

Lesson #6

He came with me
the first time but
didn’t help at all.
Instead, he laughed.
Turned to the pharmacist
and joked he could never
trust someone who bled
for seven days and didn’t die.

 

Lesson #9

He told me after I blew out
the candles on the cake
that I better marry quickly.
My hair and hips were good
and I would need the money
more than I’d ever need the love.

————
Christina Thatcher is a PhD student and postgraduate tutor at Cardiff University where she studies how creative writing can impact the lives of people bereaved by addiction. Christina keeps busy off campus too by delivering creative writing workshops across South Wales, running projects for organizations like Making Minds and the Welsh Writers Trust, coordinating literature events for the Made in Roath Festival, and more. Her poetry and short stories have featured in a number of publications including The London Magazine, Planet Magazine, and the Lampeter Review and her first collection, More than you were, was recently shortlisted in Bare Fiction’s Debut Poetry Collection Competition. To learn more about Christina’s work please visit her blog: https://collectingwords.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @writetoempower.

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