poem: tell me that we are not only what our mothers made of us.

shadow mothers send

their daughters to the mad-house in babbling hordes

and call their rooms in the evernight, in the mid-morn, wondering after the girls they broke and the wings they burned and asking:

do your fingers burn, still, from cradling the ashes

of your own heart? do they taste of smoke / and a wisp of desperation?”


and asking:


was i the last woman you’ll ever love?”


and asking:


am i not your birth and beginning / your end, and the afterlife?

am i not the bricks you carry on the shelf of your shoulders / and the daughter you’re afraid to bear?

is it not my madness you drink / and my face you see in the shining gutter-gore?”


and we call to them

voices heady and brittle, pushing between the bars on our windows:


we are ever-daughters

the childless / the rotten anti-virgins / the Liliths

and you are the gatekeepers

of our future graves.
tell me we are not only what our mothers made of us | t. bennett ; @raggedhearts

poem: 3/4 human and we don’t bruise easy

i don’t bruise

easy . you say this
with my bird-bone wrist
in your fingers
and i turn it
inside out
under the bathroom mirror lights. marks on my insides where the flesh is
white as snow ;

i saw it, once upon

a remembered sleepy

summertime / the dog

nipped at my fingers and

it’s lead
stripped my leg of its

( look – speckled red
the covers )

and the dog ate my brown
lapping at summer green grass

her owner, sunburn bright

watched in horror and i didn’t

cry but now i

i think about
snow white and dashing
on the front of cars / empty skulls, flowers in
my mouth / petals on the gum sockets. do you know that

we don’t turn
many colours on the outside / i have never

bruised, easy, you must

beat and beat

to turn my brown a little

black . you must whip

and strip me

down to

a blushing crimson-raw.

we don’t bruise

like you do all on the

outside / we are not

fruit in a child’s

palm we are hardy

like mother’s feet over the soils

and his bones

under the whip / child’s

belly swelling / cheeks

against officer boot / the sun-set

sinking light

in eyes unrisen.

¾ human, and we don’t bruise easy | talia b. ; @ragghearts

poem : a letter, from – your almost-victim

and i

took what was left

of us to the riverbank,

held it under by the neck

‘til it couldn’t cry “ no more ! ” /

‘til the sun sank from a bleached

sky and sucked each star

from the heavens  

and still, i kept it

under /

you started

the killing

(once you saw i could make

words out of letters and

got a taste of something




i made it

into a murder / didn’t

know there was a difference

but i felt it in the veins of this

body you chased

for the

thrill of ending up

waist deep inside something



girls and boys

and people

like me , prissy and pretty

noses in the air , skin

summer-dark, ever-brown

iron-eyes , watching

you watching for another


rose-mouth running under

the barricade, freckled hands

rubbing through every line . i

wear little and talk all loud out

of bounds, too much

for a church boy / lily-liver, white as

a false surrender

i spit back

and bite hard the hand

that would command

my body

and say it all, the way it is,


with my hands deep in the water

chanting my truth to what’s left of us,

in the only language you

ever knew /


black and blue,


red and pink,




and bruising.


– letter, from: your almost-victim| talia b. ; @raggedhearts



poem : people-pleaser / ghost breeder

woke up to your fingers
painted on my skin / luminescent
lurid ,
in the dark. you’d taken
and taken me with everything
you had left / i hope
in the middle, just
before the end
that it made you happy to

push a hand
inside – wrist
and muscle, too,
laying it all to rest.

you buried your
lovers in my graveyard
and now, i grow round
on ghosts.

people-pleaser / ghost-breeder | talia b. ; @raggedhearts

poem : night-hearts

i can feel
it all coming undone
to darkness
always, i’ve been – been afraid
of dying / loved the night & hated the way the light looked
as it was leaving

i lived for the stars, awhile
until the sun rose and claimed
what was hers
so i think

maybe death is like a
the night sky our
hearts i promise

( you won’t even know you’re gone )

– talia b. / @raggedhearts ×


poem : almost-free

i’m dreaming

of a world

i might die before

i see

but if even


of us gets to be

brown / black /


and free

you’ll hear me

from the stars,

strung up somewhere

a thousand miles between your hands

and mine,

a whisper, of –
“we stood

and broke and


so you could live

just a day

more / like this / like you’ve never known what

it means to hide

and the lights

are burning

and a heart beats hardest / before it beats

no more,

with an ages-old pride

and you

are all we fought for

and you , toppling walls,
( doing all we did

only in darkness, half-light,

shuttered up behind closet doors )
shining, loving, living

where it’s daytime bright,
you are  all i dreamed of

18, half-gone,  almost-there,

talia b. ig : @raggedhearts 

poem : we have come to speak our history / and wake the marrow in your bones

there’s a warmth in her

voice. old grief, aged pain,

echoing voices on floorboards i

walk again, through her feet, in

her legs.


these are your slave-women

these are your fields

these are your homes

and untouchable brethren

these are the waves they dragged us over

this is the sun that cracked open

our scars

smell whip-leather / smell baby-blood / smell your death in the setting sun

and rage.


we have come to speak our history / and wake the marrow in your bones | talia b. ; @raggedhearts

poem : hanahaki

is it safe where you

lay? are the leaves speaking against your window / am i in your heart, because you are in mine / am i reflected in the

silver curves of that place’s half-moon / am i good

where they were

better? or bad? or shades of black / is my mouth stained with kisses-to-be ; your future mistakes ; i taste a name, half-remembered, on your skin – and


do you know that when you

carry a memory, i see

the smoke of it

convulsing behind your mirror-glass eyes?


is it warm, where you are? i will be waiting where you left me

i have been patient and the soil is dry; spring is

on our heels / come quick. come quick

before i am more flower

than fire.


  • hanahaki | t.b. ; @raggedhearts


[ h a n a h a k i  – n. a fictional illness, born from one-sided love, where the patient vomits flower petals as a result. ]

poem : sappho , hear me

mother, i cannot weave my writer’s song

my loom lies dead and the day is done before the sun has risen, my work finished

before it has begun.


mother, i cannot lift my head to rest in the bowl of your palms. leave me – i am in love

and by every god i swear that i shall wither;

rosy flesh unfurling

from lily bones,melancholy-soft, sweetly singing

of madness.


– sappho ; hear me | t.b / @raggedhearts



poem : rewinding the apocalypse

i can see your city / crumbling , colliding / milky horizons bleeding red / the stench of a dying world , clinging to your mouth’s

corners ; everything is a cycle / everything is a circle of the same to the same until i

break the connection where it thought

it was strongest


until i do the unthinkable /

until i break myself trying to be unbreakable. i will fill in

my cracks with silver. with steel, liquid fire / oily rage, with gold and silver / everything soft, everything bad and good and dark and rusted and our desire and i will bang metal hands against walls of flowers and thorns.


i can promise you blood / that i will fill in your cracks, too. we will not be fixed, but

broken / loving ourselves when we are at the brink. we will do what they thought was unthinkable

and live.


rewinding the apocalypse | talia b. ; @raggedhearts

poem : of dogs and their masters

eyes that cry never lie ( ? )


the untruth of it rustles (coloured in amusement, pink-yellow) under naivety. you want to

believe that they sob

for you? for you / pretty dog, called to heel, nuzzling at fingers that cl i ck – ! – and call the pet from its deathbed, back to the grave of

their arms (the hazy smell of your blood

in the cracks

of their palms) ;


you are better

when you are unlearning,

dull-eyed, blurry smile, dining on sugar-crusted death / dumb, lonely,

and lovely.


  • of dogs and their masters | t. bennett ; @raggedhearts