After Birth – A Poem by Emma Filtness

After Birth

I was birthed from the iron womb of the earth
turned up too soon by the trawl and till of the dragline

emerged red and weeping, brushing silt from my skin
wiping clods of clay from where they caked into ear

and arse, pressed fingertips to rusty fissures and welts
where sharp edges of slate and ore scraped, bit deep

as I climbed up the steep side of the quarry after the men
had packed it in for the day I felt a rip-tug and a hot red flood

between my tender legs as the earth reminded me
I am tethered, after all, there is iron in my blood

Emma Filtness is a poet and lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University London. Her poems recently featured in visual poetry exhibitions with Poem Atlas and Mellom Press. Emma finds inspiration in nature and the (dark) feminine, writes much of late about her childhood hometown, migration and work, makes zines and particularly enjoys exploring found and visual poetics. Twitter: @em_filtness  IG: @cultofflora 

Banner Art: Steel Town Cinema, a VISPO-Glitch by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2022. Twitter: @frede_kenter

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