Nesting

 

i eat three mouths & then some
& still i can’t bring myself to speak.

go hunting
just me & my primitive mouth,
i come back teething the sun,
midas don’t touch me, i am some type of bird ill.

say old, say mother
of my mother—salt, rub, wound,
bury; Antarctica
i am a second home-coming.

& i am woman tired, all creeks & joints,
door me to sea.

sometimes midway
i flair summer rains; fresh mint, dirt,
garden in door,
this illusion of peace makes me so sick,
speak to be of rebellion & i’ll give,

forget white,
i am dripping red, rabid animal type yes,
i be always half-frothing at the mouth,
no i won’t co-operate,
no i won’t stay quite, stamp my hooves,
call me savage, savage i am.

wear you a crown & call spring forth
& oh where’d all the birds go?

exile: i am desert, in me
an endless river
& what type of deal is this anyway?

am i meant to drown or well myself,
water aerobics is it:
touch, go all knees, bend,
know the call for rain but never deliver—

it’s better this way?—yes?

 i go to bed & pull the roots of a tree,
wake up & spit out
the tip of my tongue—yes i am blunt.

& what would your prescribe for bitterness?

hack off half my hair, fast?
lay daffodils at your feet, beg?
hibernate perhaps—
—perhaps i should go round selling honey too?

smile, nod—mother because i am woman?

curl every word
you said
like a strand of hair
wound tight
around my finger & pull

& pull
& oh what a small self-infliction.


Orpheus sings

 

& the cage
never did fit easy

rubbed me
the wrong way

chaffed the birds
to claw

i became
a featherless thing.

but
there
your fingers
went,

pushed my ribs
for the key

jokes on you

heart says

locked
in/ is locked out.

but
down i went.

& string-ray stung,
siren set,
mermaid tail,
squid ink;
human heart,
free will,
enough for a potion you think?

& so i tried,
carved that night out
again,
called the stars
for their stars,
shook every blessing,
earthed my knees,
gave away
every piece of gold,
hacked my hair,
took a tooth,
pulled my roots,
turned an eye,

over & over,
bottled air
& prayer billowing
outward i went.

snapped, set, 
re-set.

hands you know
they see things.

crying, i docked, 
styx i stole a boat.

a curse:
i set fire to the dead,

velvet this heavy:
i am alive.

underneath my skin
another.

& dressed in
marigold laughter

i carried you
where
flowers
the colour
of
jaundiced light
fight spring for your spine.

persephone,
i fold
like a tulip
wanting to be held.

persephone,
she is a forever
i will water
til spring will have me, 
til sea seeps to hell.

 

3 | 2 | 1 


000 B SA KHANUM.jpg

S.A. KHANUM  IN CONVERSATION

 

Perhaps I wanted that haphazard feel of human inadequacy

READ FULL CONVERSATION HERE