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‘To The Wounded Among Us*’ by Sarala Estruch – Primers Shortlist 2017


But everyone is wounded a little.
What are hearts but purple, pumping
wounds? What are we but hearts
travelling in skin suits?

Today we are tired of listening.
This morning we woke with our ears full,
cochleae still reverberating with gunshot
and the bombs we detonated yesterday

in yet another failed coup to colonise
each other. And when, over breakfast,
you gifted me your tall, barricade of a back
I bit into my toast to occupy my throat.

Did you ever consider love as a kind
of deafness? Not only the act of making love
when the tympanic membranes are so pumped
with blood we can hear nothing

but the sound of ourselves pulsating.
But love itself, the way it can refuse
to read words on lips – preferring to hear:
bend of arm, incline of neck, susurration

of skin. The way love can translate
an argument (I hate you, I’m leaving)
into the clamour of blood pouring through veins
screaming I love you. I’m hurting. Hold me.


*The title and opening line of this poem are variants on the title and opening line of Ada Limón’s poem ‘To the Busted Among Us’ from sharks in the rivers (Minnesota: Milkweed Editions, 2010)


Sarala Estruch is on the ten-person shortlist for Primers Volume III. ‘To The Wounded Among Us’ is from her shortlisted manuscript The English Dream. We’ve been showcasing the work of all the shortlisters writers over the last two weeks. See the shortlist announcement page for links.

Sarala is a London-based writer and poet. She holds degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing from Goldsmiths College and Birkbeck College, University of London. Her work has appeared in Wasafiri, The NorthThe Jamaica Observer, and in anthologies. Sarala was a prizewinner in the PBS National Student Poetry Competition 2013.

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