Poetry / December 2016 (Issue 34)

But we would have to write letters

by Bernice Chauly

You interest me, you said—
like the pained pink neck of a minion's brace
pinned to the noon like minnows

You pervade me
like a deep, marrow grass
purple with longing
red, succulent
with hard hand
boot and pen

Your seed did not ferment
in my mouth
that sticky marrow of youth
so ripe, purulent

You strode me
you stuck it into me
and made me taste
that new decay
Bug-eyed and cold
the spring air crept in
hard rivulets framing your face
without grace, without anything
resembling warmth
I lay still—
the bed, unholy now
that spent morning
of all that was

 Bernice Chauly is a Malaysian writer, poet, educator and Director of the George Town Literary Festival. She is the author of five books of poetry and prose which include the award-winning memoir Growing Up With Ghosts (2011) and her critically acclaimed third collection of poems, Onkalo (2013). For over twenty years she worked as a multidisciplinary artist and is recognised as one of the most significant voices of her generation. She is an Honorary Fellow in Writing from the University of Iowa's International Writing Program (IWP 2014) and currently teaches creative writing at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. Her upcoming novel will be published by Epigram Books in 2017. Visit her website for more information. (Photo credit: Daniel Adams)
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