Elisabeth Sennitt Clough was born in Cambridge and holds a Ph.D from the OU. Her work has appeared in several UK poetry anthologies, to include Bloodaxe publication Hallelujah for 50ft Women. In progress: The Glass Collar (pamphlet).
As she counsels, don’t be afraid,
let it out, I’m reminded of the beguines
from the 4th arrondissement, the glass collars
they wore in the beguinage, each engraved
with their priest’s name, how they could speak
only at confession, after he’d loosened
the ornate pins secured at their napes.
She knows I’ve brought my childhood to therapy,
that my hand rests on a rickety latch
to a back-bedroom door. Her notes tell her I hear
the wood thump as if someone is trapped inside
and ask questions I already know the answers to,
like Ouija, is someone there? And once inside,
I see myself on a small bed with no sheets.
She’s hard-nosed: let it out. Say the word.
I want to shout a whole chapter’s worth
(save for one small line about all the telltale signs
I missed). I want to tell her, a single word
isn’t enough, that it will take a thousand
more than rape. Then I sense the glass
around my throat, the pin’s locking chafe.
3rd Prize, Nantwich Poetry Competition, 2015.
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