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  • Alan Ward


I unzip my chest from navel to neck,

sending nipples cross-eyed as I strip my skin.

I unbutton muscle from bone –

pop open the bonnet of my ribcage.

I rip through tangled red threads, some thin as silk,

as cotton; some as thick as rope.

They lead me to that thudding organ –

bloody battery slipping in my hands,

swollen with red oil as I disconnect it, unwed it

from my worn out, scrap heap shell.

I clutch it between two palms. Crush it,

tilt it like a jug. Pour out my heart.


First published in Writers' Forum in March 2010, where it won first prize in their regular poetry competition.

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