The Last Time It Bled

the last time I bled was when I stood on glass

the worst time I bled was when they put the scissors in my vagina

the last time I saw someone else bleed was when I found a the man on the street with his knees bleeding through his jeans

a time when I bled but I didn’t see the blood was when I banged my head on the kitchen stone and when I came to my friend’s mum had cleaned everything even the bits of teeth

the first time I saw an animal bleed was when my dog jumped over a barbed wire fence and tore open his belly and I saw more than just blood

the first time someone bled for me was when they put the scissors in my mother’s vagina

another time she bled for me was when she cut her finger so that I could look at her blood under the microscope of my home science kit but then I got a d in gcse science

the last time she bled for me was when she cut her finger when she sewed my wedding dress

dad never bled for me

the last time I made someone else bleed was when I pushed my husband off his bicycle because I thought a bus was going to hit him and he cut his head on the pavement. He said he knew the bus wouldn’t hit him

the last time my blood almost killed me was when it mixed with my baby’s blood; or was I almost killed by his blood?

always wanted to be blood sisters with someone but my friends were too scared

the last time I saw a picture of someone else’s blood was when I went on photos.yadvashem.org

I didn’t bleed when I was pregnant but I felt like I was bleeding

the first time I saw my son’s blood was when his belly button fell off and underneath was yellow and brown

the last time I saw my son’s blood was when he scratched his face with his long nails that I was too scared to cut in case I made him bleed

My cat doesn’t bleed doesn’t have veins that I can see doesn’t look like he has any blood at all

My dad once told me that men’s and women’s blood smells different

My uncle once left a dead rabbit that he’d shot to drain of its blood in the garage so that my mum who is a vegetarian would find it because he thought it was funny

My friend faints when she sees blood so she doesn’t go for blood tests and I think that she might have a life-threatening blood disease

never given blood because I don’t have enough


Emma SzH is working on her PhD ‘Selfies at Auschwitz’ at the Royal College of Art, London. She writes on various subjects, namely at the intersection of religion, gender and digital visual cultures, and has been published by Bloomsbury, the Paulist Press and the Catholic Tablet, among others. www.twitter.com/emmaszh

Emma is guest editor for this month’s edition of the Burning House Press on the theme ‘Blood’. Submit your work here

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