Mercedes Webb-Pullman

Katherine Mansfield

Wellington London Brussels
Wellington Urewera London
Paris Scotland Brussels
Bavaria Bad Wörishofen
London Rottingdean
Cheyne Walk Greys Inn Road
Ditchling Bruges
Geneva Paris Oxford
Runcton Chancery Lane
Paris Cholesbury
Baron’s Court Broadstairs
Ireland Paris
Rue de Tournon London
Chelsea Cornwall
Rose Tree Cottage Gray
Paris St Johns Wood
Cassis Bandol Marseille
Redcliffe Road Looe
Portland Villas Italy
San Remo Casetta Deerholm
Menton L’Hermitage Villa Flora
Villa Isola Bella
Switzerland Chalet des Sapins
Paris Switzerland London
Pond Street Paris
Le Prieuré

Henrietta Lacks

The end’s like knotting off a cotton thread;
a length is finished, still the spool remains.
I live on through my children, though I’m dead.
My daughters have my lips, I smile again.
Through each maternal ancestor a chain,
our line unbroken since the first live birth.
Our DNA, as memory, prevails.
I never thought to travel round this earth.

From Africa, where life began, we spread
as servants, slaves, our treatment inhumane
with hunger, floggings, hanging overhead.
White masters took their pleasure in our pain
and bred our daughters. Lords in their domain
they knew exactly what our lives were worth.
They farmed us, sold our children. Some were slain.
I never thought to travel round this earth.

Then slaves were freed, to own their own farmsteads
and generations worked without complaint
to buy a patch of land, put up a shed
and grow a crop to sell, somehow maintain
a full-time job as well. Our pride shines plain
in children reading, learning, giving birth.
The Good Book teaches ‘Give, and you shall gain.’
I never thought to travel round this earth.

My cancer didn’t die with me. Mundane
as my life’s been, I somehow earned rebirth,
my stolen cells immortal now, arcane.
I never thought to travel round this earth.


me me me me
me Guiler me Miller
me my father me me me
Allendy me me Rank me me
me my patients me me me me
me Steinbeck me Artaud me Wilson
me me Vidal me Agee me Herlihy me Durrell
me me me Bridget me me June me me
me Moré me me Rainer me
me me me Pole me me
me me me me me
me me me

Mercedes Webb-Pullman: IIML Victoria University Wellington MA in Creative Writing 2011.

Poems and stories have appeared in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Scum, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, Otoliths, Connotations, The Red Room, Typewriter, Main Street Rag, Pure Slush, among others, and in her books. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand.
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