The Memory by Rachel Burns

Across the river a horse whinnies, reminding her
of the brutish hero in Jane Eyre, of that holiday
on the moors as a girl, walking around the parsonage
the scrawled handwriting behind sealed glass.

A suppressed memory sticks in her head
like surgical glue, the clothes the Bronte sisters wore
their shoes small enough to fit the feet of china dolls.
Tiny chairs and desks where they wrote for hours.

The memory tries to escape, but she won’t let it
the sound keeps coming back, the sudden loud
knock, knock, knock at the door
the smell of sweat and stale tobacco.

She bit her lip, she remembers the taste of blood like metal
her six-year-old skin cold and clammy.
She couldn’t speak for a whole two hours
and hasn’t spoke about it since.


Rachel Burns has poetry published in literary magazines The Lake, South, Mslexia, Fenland Reed, Head Stuff, Lonesome October, South Bank Poetry, Ambit, Smeuse, The Herald newspaper, Toasted Cheese and A Restricted View From Under The Hedge. Poems anthologised in #MeToo, Poems for Grenfell Tower and Please Hear What I’m Not Saying.

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