Braces / kim aubrey

Orthodontist  tightens bands that cinch
your teeth, substitutes taut pink elastics
for wilted green ones, your jaw
remembers another hand clamped there,
screams obliterated

inside the clench of fingers that made throat
cramp, belly want to spill. The hand owned
your body; freedom came from dis-
claiming it, loosing the cruel weight
of words and memory

words failed you, you failed yourself, disowned
your story, dug a grave for it in red
dirt under grapefruit tree whose bitter juice
spoke the silence of adults and children
bought to pick and carry.

For years the ghost of that grip held
your throat shut, clamps of industry, commerce,
church and state pressed your face into a more
accommodating shape.

Theft and loss, capture, ownership bleed
up through the ages-the trade in rum
and bodies that made your island home rich
and oblivious.

•••

Kim Aubrey is a Bermudian writer living in Canada. Her story collection, What We Hold In Our Hands, is forthcoming with Demeter Press, November, 2013. Kim is Associate Editor and  Nonfiction Editor for Grain Magazine, an editor for Red Claw Press, and Director of Writers’ Workshop in Bermuda.

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