Whatever your method, you can't murder someone who doesn't exist
"Being unable to tell your story is a living death, and sometimes a literal one." Rebecca Solnit
If you were a seed
who was planted in poor, stony, never composted soil,
who had been left in the shade
whose every attempt at growing was met with weedkiller,
whose roots were cut
by the gardener who left your leaves on display to complain
about how pathetic they were
whilst also demanding you produce flowers to win competitions
against those who'd been nurtured.
If you'd never been watered but were forced to dig your roots
deeper to snatch any sustenance.
If you'd watched bees flock to brighter flowers to pollinate them
instead of you.
If you heard others berate you for failing to flower
because they believed
the gardener incapable of neglect despite the evidence.
If you'd been taught
no one will listen so it's pointless speaking, you become suspicious
of the one who offers
to hear you because they only see you through the gardener's lens.
It's not death by a thousand cuts
because there are no visible scars, no physical evidence
except stunted growth.
It's not murder: you can't kill someone who was never present,
never allowed to grow.
It's not erasure because you can't take away something that wasn't
there in the first place.
Despite all this, the seed still lives its shadowed life, still strives
to be acknowledged.
Emma Lee's recent collection is "Ghosts in the Desert" (
, 2015). She co-edited " IDP, UK , Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge" (Five Leaves, Over Land UK, 2015) and "Welcome to Leicester" (Dahlia , 2016). She reviews and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com. Publishing, UK