Poem and illustrations by Kezia Rice
You desire tight fit windows that look out upon a neatly trimmed lawn. I am a leaking creaking single glaze, but I submit to suburbia for you. I dutifully trim the lawn.
And yet here appears a seborrheic wart: abhorrent, it adorns me, placed upon the skin with a casual eye. Every time we fuck this comes up.
You remove the hard skin from my feet with an Electric Grinding Machine. You enjoy eroding my improper calluses - a regular couples activity.
My mother used to tell me my ears were tiny catkins, so covered in a soft layer of down. That fine blonde hair still grows on my face even now. Get rid of it, you tell me. It is a Punishable Offence.
Your helpful hints extend beyond my looks: I get a daily reminder to take the pill, and oh! The beration if I hadn’t! Because God forbid you would take responsibility. For your own ejaculation.
And now - I haven’t worn a skirt all winter. I told you once, I favour a more masculine style. Wrong answer. I was outed as Bad Girlfriend Material.
In your words: you were always drinking water in the night, sip, sip, sip, we laugh - then you tell me: kept me awake at night you know. Even thirst - a Big Inconvenience for you.
Spring has come, and we are blessed with a Prime Bronzing Opportunity. I dutifully strip; lie; rotate and repeat: this is leisure time. And women’s work is never done.
My mother was too feminist for this frivolity. Makeup-less her whole adult life - and no one told me women were meant to elevate their beauty. The mirror hurt me. How could my unadorned self compare?
But even she was surface level beautiful. Underwater, cancer burrowed, settling in for a long deep feast. She hid this well. Women often do.
Eventually, her hair thinned and wisped away. When death came a-knocking she covered her head with a blue scarf for six weeks. No point trying when you’re dying! How’s that for femininity?
Remember the wart? My doctor will remove it for me - NHS of course. She blasts me hard with chemicals from a can. Hello wart - I wait for you to expel yourself from me. Days pass before you drop into my hands. I have a plan.
Today, you will receive a gift in the post: love it; magnify it; was this not what you desired? Tiny scab of flesh, so potent and yet light enough to drift on air. So painful it can float upon the sea.
Kezia Rice is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of imprint mag.zine. As well as running imprint, she has made a podcast @kezsbookshelf, and can often be found taking scissors and a sewing needle to her clothes or having a refreshing dip in one of Lancashire's rivers. She has previously written for imprint about everything from living without a car to the problematics of Love Island to her passion for charity shopping.