Defiance on my Tongue

Susan Richardson

Photo Credit: Henrique Simplicio/Flickr (CC-by)

She seeps through bullet holes in
the window and down stairs that threaten
to crumble under the anticipation of my boots.
Her strides are peppered with impatience as
she paces to the brutal strike of the clock.
I step quietly through a crack in the door,
holding my breath in the pit of my throat.
I am ten minutes late.

Peering through glasses perched sternly
on the end of her nose, she looks down
at me as if I am debris that sullies her shoe.
She glances sharply at her watch and
tells me her time is valuable.
I feel the sting of her disdain in my mouth.

Copies of my poems lay strewn across the
table, torn apart by her overinflated ego,
slashed into tatters by a bleeding marker.
She tells me no one cares about my feelings.
Setting a timer for thirty minutes, she instructs me to
write about what I hear and smell and taste.
I taste defiance on my tongue and hear the rustle
of a sweater that carries the stench of conceit.
I attack the lines of a blank page.
My time is also valuable.

Sparks of disillusionment crowd the room
and ignite my impulse to escape.
I paid to savor the abundance of her language,
but she is barren and blends immaculately into
burning walls, singeing the fabric of my adoration.
Her imprint leaves a stain on the taste buds of my day.


Susan Richardson is living, writing and going blind in Hollywood. She was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa in 2002 and much of her work focuses on her relationship to the world as a partially sighted woman. In addition to poetry, she writes a blog called Stories from the Edge of Blindness. Her work has been published in: Stepping Stones Magazine, Wildflower Muse, The Furious Gazelle, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Foxglove Journal, Literary Juice and Sick Lit Magazine, with pieces forthcoming in Amaryllis. She was also awarded the Sheila-Na-Gig Winter Poetry Prize. Email: floweringinkpoetry[at]

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