Bex Hainsworth

October 4, 2022


After the weddings, he never
surrendered that calm, glazed look.
We were left to ourselves on the empty stage
of a cavernous home — inherited, cold.

He followed me, weaving in and out
of white pillars. Unused to being pursued,
I snapped at him. His wounded expression
was like a slap. He never argued back.

I missed his fury, ached for his threats:
the original script of deprecation, deceit.
At night, I wanted his hands at my throat,
his teeth sinking into the tender, milky part

where shoulder met neck. He shrank back
from my growls, shushed and soothed me
like I was a fawn cornered by his dogs.
Our love-making was soft, slow — fruitless.

Nothing would take root, I couldn’t bloom.
A child, I think, might have helped.
Some shrieking creature to contend with,
to distract from the marital bliss.

Hermia already had six in her brood,
soon stopped answering my letters.
I always believed something had intervened.
My dreams were warm, disturbed —

scented with mushrooms and moss.
And so, one mild night, I led him back to the forest.
Years since I first chased him there, the trees
were hunched, rotting. I knew someone was watching.

I left him under orders in that clearing, beneath
a clash of darkness and moonlight. Head tilted,
curious, content — he stayed. I fled Athens that night,
spent my life looking for him.

Bex Hainsworth is a poet and teacher based in Leicester, U.K. She won the Collection HQ Prize as part of the East Riding Festival of Words and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Heavy Feather Review, Atrium, Okay Donkey, bath magg, and trampset. Her debut pamphlet of ecopoetry will be published by Black Cat Poetry Press in 2023. Find her on Twitter @PoetBex.