Torn by Rosaleen Lynch

Torn, from scissors on the umbilical cord, from nails without scratch mittens, gums cut from teeth breaking through, forehead and nose grazes from learning-to-walk bumps and falls, and on knees and hands from running, in lungs from whooping cough, from falling off swings and slides, and a broken playground witch’s hat, the housing estate half-built with missing floors and stairs hanging in the sky, finger nails on pimples pushed in too deep, uterus lining cast-off, periods, periods, periods, from ear piercing, bicycle skids and motorbike crashes, from thorn bushes and splinters hiding in the woods, from the snag of barbed-wire climbing walls, from security dog bites, fake document paper-cuts, periods, periods, periods, from you, from me, from cooking knives, DIY, in birthing from the choice of episiotomy or letting the vagina tear, the cutting of the umbilical cord, the suck, and bite and gnaw of breast feeding, breaking through the nipple skin, blood and milk, babies, babies, babies, from you, from me, nappy pins, tins, broken glass, fingers jammed in doors to stop them locking, from running away without shoes, from sitting watching, waiting at the window, scratching under the hairline behind my ear. I’m torn.

Rosaleen Lynch, an Irish community worker and writer in the East End of London with words in lots of lovely places and can be found on Twitter @quotes_52 and