The End of Lilith By Helen Victoria Murray

The End of Lilith

My night begins with dark eye shadow     /     thick as the curtains we hung in the


they like when I lay it on heavy     /     so no light shines out

contradicting my unholy halo     /        my halogen streetlamp

I’m slow, nowadays       /      and my joints stick together

– too many years rattled by concrete and cobblestone –




I will loosen my hair

I will stand on my lonely street corner       /            a species of nightlife endangered:

The Last of the Women with Talons for Toes

that’s how every girl knows me by sight


at the end of the day    /              as they fumble their bus money

shuffle their feet           /                   and remember their fathers

the first ones who said ‘come away’            /           and ‘don’t look’

as they pulled a grotesquerie out of their trousers              /             to pay me aside


I’m your five thousand year old child bride.


I have been syphilitic in Paris and London       /             and cheered in the streets of the royal
I’ve been trapped in the gilt frame of all the great painters


Acclaimed on the Stage           /                       Photographed in the Gutter

reclaimed by old women with library eyes


– but none of their words can match my stride –


I have crossed every continent              /             a hundred times over

seen the stripes mark the bent backs of lovers who erred

sung to children the songs           /              gone unheard by their mothers

as they preached in the temples             /      and chatrooms         /                 of turning away

Saw my name on the wall grow as faint        /            as the trail seeping out of the cut girls
when God!

I should have been their patron saint.


But this

is how

it ends


in the hospital waiting room


where they will strip me

and shear me

and drip me

bandage my wounds up, but burn all my clothes


till before your mahogany desk I stand

with my head bare, in my pale blue shift

for you to tell me



do not


By Helen Victoria Murray


Helen Victoria Murray is a writer and student of English Literature, living and working in Glasgow. Helen’s writing has been featured by The Scottish Book Trust, the literary journal Bohemyth and Glaswegian zines including Aloud Magazine and Fail Better. She is a regular contributor and illustrator for qmunicate magazine. Contact her on Twitter @HelenVMurray for more information about her work.

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  1. Pingback: Honoring Lilith Part 3: A Prayer and a Share – Tahni J. Nikitins

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