Red on Bone

(Women liberated from Bergen-Belsen in 1945 are offered lipstick)

The vast meat of your hand
Offers lipstick
To one who has no lips
Should I put red on bone?

We are not women
We are not the carriers of the future
Our wombs are shrunken prunes
Our breasts spent parchment
We are ghosts propped up on shaking sticks

I am gone
Run back
Into fragments of small memories

Take up your lipstick then
Write on my bones
Smear them with red
Press hard, write large
Bold red on bone
Mark me, brand me, inform me again
Who I am

Illustration by Joyce Davis








Poet: Heather Freckleton

Illustrated by Joyce Davis

This poem won First Prize in The Poems Please Me Prize 2015

Heather has been a social worker, college lecturer and puppeteer amongst other incarnations. She enjoys many art forms but believes poetry is one of the greatest mediums for getting anywhere near expressing the inexpressible. She has had “modest success” in various competitions and has been anthologised numerous times.

She recently settled in Hull having lived in various locations in the UK and in India for a short time. “Winning this brilliant competition has given me the encouragement to keep on chasing that slippery chimera that might emerge as poetry.”

See other illustrations of this poem, and all the winning & commended entries in the eBook Red on Bone


2 Responses to Red on Bone

  1. Maureen Weldon says:

    Congratulations to Heather Freckleton for her beautiful and powerful winning poem “Red on Bone”

    Maureen Weldon x

  2. Tim Binder says:

    What a powerful poem – well done! A worthy winner indeed.

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