Tuesday, 5 July 2022


by Nick Gisburne

Her body pinned, constricted at the neck,
He shaves the insurrection from her skull,
A warning to the watchers on the deck:
Identity is nothing for a Null.
Seditious twists, forbidden beads and braids,
In symmetries too subtle to be seen,
Are shorn and scraped with blunt, unpolished blades,
A crimson smear where meaning might have been.
Injustice done, he throws her to the floor,
And waits for her to thank him. She does not.
A ripple from the Nulls; their pleas implore
Their sister to be servile or be shot.
    She mourns for it. The hair was all she had.
    Defiant, she will die, and she is glad.