the bull’s new ring

by rachel

White gold through my ear as a silver hoop
through a bull’s nose. A hoop that links animal
to master, to be chained upon a binding staff,
kept at arms’ length but kept, nonetheless.

In months, the white gold piercing built its crusty
gold sibling around the loss in my ear, a defence
mechanism, resistance, escape, as days of forgotten
sterilisation dripped past, and past, and past.

The cavern of exposed treasure felt itself collecting
behind the crevices of my ear, a constant reminder of
failed attempts flitted by. Every effort to wipe the slate
clean left me feeling like a tomb raider, an insider –

Guilt grew not because the gold was someone
else’s to own but because of the screams that
sounded with each layer of infection scraped away,
a familiar voice gasping to be released.

Perhaps, when the bull pierced not her nose but her
ears, the staff that fell around her was not wielded
by another to keep her away but grown from the
shuddering bones in her body, a plea, to own herself.

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