Rubbing Brass


by Rosie Garland

Remove your shoes and other cruel objects
– belt buckle, wedding ring, neck chains hung
with crosses – and kneel. Dust off the night’s dirt

crusting the hollows between rib and rib,
and where the sockets of the eyes are dark
with decades of soot. Secure the body to the slab,

massage with linseed oil. Stretch butcher’s paper
over cheekbones, shoulders, breasts, hips, knees,
smoothing all the places where bones crest and peak.

Feel how palms pressed in prayer push through
the blur of bitumen and glue themselves to yours.
Score the outline with your thumb. Grip

the heelball and grind until the gullet gleams
through its tarry tarnish. Burnish
shadows into brass. Gild the larynx with lightning.

Poem republished from Rosie Garland’s new poetry collection Everything Must Go, published by Holland Park Press

About the Author:

Rosie Garland is a poet, writer and performance artist based in Manchester, UK.