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Before he came, I lusted for those stones –
my flesh should bruise and split, my bones should break
to speak the pain of loss and shame, the words

we couldn’t speak. He cast in dust the words,
“I’m yours”; the heavy breathing crowd clutched stones
as heavy as their virtue, hard as heartbreak.

The silence when it fell was hard to break.
His gaze, his eyebrow raised, allowed no words;
the only sound the thud of falling stones.

Alone, I pocket stones and break my word.


Jenni Emery is a writer based in London. She has a day job in the City.

“This poem was written on Steve Ely’s ‘The Word Made Fresh’ course in response to the story in John’s Gospel about a woman caught in adultery. I wanted to speak for the woman, to play with judgment and forgiveness, to explore what Jesus might have written in the dust, and to convey in the poem itself a little of the eroticism that first got the woman into trouble. I feel the tritina form helps to convey all that gently and meditatively.”


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Image Credits:

Image: stones & holes,  2005, horsehair, paperyarn, stitched, 80×80 cm

Image credit: Marian Bijlenga