How I Write About Enslavement
I dig bones from a grave carried on my back
lay them on the page – blood full-stops.
Chains are brought up next, a tangled weight.
Whips the overseers soaked in salt
start a fire on my skin. Deep wounds
turn into welts, flower into sentences.
My body folds, neck wrenched to feel the rope
pulling at my neck. Knees quake. Each organ
fills with names, the children sold
their cries tamped in my throat, locked away
for safety’s sake until they scream
break free, demand a page.
Jenny Mitchell is winner of the Segora Poetry Prize 2020, the Fosseway Poetry Prize 2020, a Bread and Roses Poetry Award 2020, joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize 2019, and a two-time Best of the Net Nominee. Her work has been published in The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House, The New European, The Morning Star etc; and broadcast on Radio 4/BBC2. A debut collection, Her Lost Language, (Indigo Dreams Publishing), was selected as one of 44 Poetry Books for 2019 (Poetry Wales) and a Jhalak Prize #BookWeLove.