Posted 03.06.11 in Writing
The knuckles on my hands
like the top of barbed wire fence,
separating my land and yours.
My body an overbearing sand-dune
dusty, grey shanty towns;
aligned on the crevice of my stomach.
each bone laid out like a row of graves.
The curve of my back;
an Iraqi road
split to ash-
avenged by bombs.
The ticking of time running out;
crackling in the air.
-broken artefacts of a life
I can hardly remember.
Waking to the splinter of shrapnel
pounding like my heart beat.
Katie Beviss wrote No Man’s Land in response to Joelle Taylor’s ‘No Man’s’ Land’ Challenge
Joelle Taylor says: Thank you for this Kate. I really enjoyed reading this poem, and it felt as though you took my advice and ideas from No Man’s Land and evolved them beautifully. You explored the notion of the body as a piece of land perfectly. My favourite image is almost certainly, “The curve of my back; an Iraqi road/ split to ash” as it successfully evokes feeling along with a precise physical comparison, and also feels good in the mouth – a lovely bit of assonance. You could tighten the odd thing up if you felt inclined – for example, in a second draft you might change “the ticking of time running out” to something that eludes more to her experience, like “the ticking of time/ like unexploded bombs” or something that refers to the sound of machine gun fire being like ticking. Also, a small point, shrapnel does not pound so much as tick or even spit . With that in mind, the last line could be “Walking to the splinter of shrapnel/ spitting (or ticking) like my heart beat”. As you can see, I have been inspired – so I’ll stop now before I take over your whole poem and publish it as my own. Joke, by the way. Can’t wait to read more of your work – please do send it in.
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