‘Villanelle to all my Wasted Flesh’ by Jane Burn

 
 
This bed a purse of flame and I, a hot coin thrown
to its tawny lickings lie, het suckle-pig, skin
lachrymose with rendered tears, beast burned to its bone –

I have squirmed my own grease on the sheet’s thirsty pone.
I paid for my dreams, blazed a cruel ascension in
this bed – a purse of flame and I, a hot coin thrown

down a parched well to land, unquenched. I am brimstone,
acrid after electric strikes – amaranthine,
lachrymose with rendered tears. Beast burned to its bone,

I will make a scald’s progress round my sweltry home,
eyes two embers in a morning’s waste of ash. Sin –
this bed a purse of flame and I, a hot coin thrown

down as payment for it. His maul a brand – my prone
length a pyre, a bruised hearth. Does he know I scorch still,
lachrymose with rendered tears? Beast burned to its bone,

a wildfire un-doused, I am tongues, all speaking in tones
of blood and fire. Each cremation of night begins –
this bed a purse of flame and I a hot coin thrown,
lachrymose with rendered tears. Beast burned to its bone.
 

Notes

‘Pone’ refers to corn pone, a bread traditionally made with bacon grease
in Southern US. It is also used as an insult, implying that a person might be
unsophisticated/‘trashy’.

Amaranthine represents the amaranth, a flower that never fades, is undying. It also represents the colours red/purple/pink.
 
 
Jane Burn is a working class bisexual with a late diagnosis of Autism. Her poems have been published in many magazines and anthologies and her next collection, Be Feared, will be published in 2021 by Nine Arches Press. Twitter @JaneBurn11

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