This poem, by Christine Coleman, is the second one in Bluebeard’s Wives, an anthology edited by Julie Boden and Zoe Brigley, with a foreword by Sophie Hannah. As you can imagine, it’s a collection of poems inspired by the tale of Bluebeard, who forbade his wife from entering just one room of his house. Containing, as it did, the bodies of his previous wives – and now of course hers as well.
He was born blue,
skin so gauzy thin, his veins
were scribbled on its surface.
He was kept indoors, except in winter
when sun had flung itself so far away,
its rays had lost their heat before
they touched his face.
He was all thumbs.
The wings of flies came away
in his grasp. Their texture matched
his skin. Their blue-black bodies
didn’t buzz without their wings.
He placed them in her jewel-box,
emeralds and lapis lazuli.
See the intro/roundup