My skin creeps in tight pinches
when I hear it,
hear them reason away
their sex, their appetites.
They know we are the unlined
back side of the page to you,
the shadowed side you lay face down
as you punish our skin
in hurriedly scrawled notes
and random bits of information
you don’t want anyone else to see.

And ohh how our backs are marked
with the pressure of your pen
scored judgements of others
written along spines you’ll later arch
whilst we are erased, just a stain on a sheet
of paper you use to write your resume.

I watch them fold their torn edges
into an origami rose
sweeter than no other.
Their terrible truths
hidden between petals
waiting to be pried open
as though resistance equals worth
because you worked for their bloom
because they’re guardians
not owners.

I want to rip them from the margins
turn them over to stand alone
and have them speak their sex
in their own language.

I want to tell them
this is our page.
We choose the ink, the words
the weight of the font.
We own those marvelous sentences
and scratched out mistakes
and yes, at times, we didn’t choose
who wrote to our paper
but that doesn’t make the intruder
our author;
they’re just another arsehole vandal
whose prose is overrated
and now written over.

I want to tell them they get to choose
whether to write impassioned scrawl
or carefully crafted lines,
scribbling notes or epic poems
in bold, brazen fonts
that spill over lines
and bleed into the margins
or write nothing at all.

I want to tell them:
Gift your page
to whomever
you choose
because you can’t cheapen a story
by reading it.

©Copyright Maggie Lawson 2018

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