homepage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RIVERFLESH


I

The thing sheds its skin in water
Along this river lovers seek sanctuary
The poison of revenge gone native in the grass
A girl admires her half-exposed breasts
Her spine wracked
Her knees bleeding on the path of snow
Beneath a calamitous dream of creation
Fingers sink in unworldly swamps
The surge breaking out of his open rib
Lifting the lid of his bubbling essence
Let him embrace my unmade being
The afterbirth waiting to be milked
In the mewling mouth my innocent mess of grammar
The materials a nightmare, not my fault
The wronged child not in words but in the desire
This fever-drenched, bestial fear
My face inhuman and my eyes a desert
Lovers come and go
But the true other is a muscle between forefinger and thumb
Why avoid his lumbering return?

The torrent leashes down to seal-skin
A girl throws herself in the river
From her extracted enamel walk pock marked crowds
Frightening in their joy, their bulimia
Unmanned by darkness
I flail in the womb
My ripped seam the unsewn hole of Nothing
Go mourn the brother’s broken mirror
As he snatches a bride from the courtyard
After she conceives the earth will burst
And her yellow eye will baffle the corridor
As she fastens the veils of dawn 
Pluck the vibrating string of hematomas
For the monster devoured by his brother
What more can this be but lords and torches
The workers swallowing misery and lead
All the words born out of zeroes
The ice storm black as extinguished hope
This experience has made me unnatural
Where he goes he knows that I will follow

II.

Spoken but unheard.
Whatever was thought or said,

these black, mourning sounds
unsleeve the cauls as fetus-gifts,

their crippled being alien,
a litter in the albumen of thought.

Whatever our deformity,
here it is a lost child.

Because we parented the creature,
here ruin is the sign.

On a filthy mass of rags
breasts lie strapped to words.

 

III.

Another year has passed. I've returned to the place of my birth,
to the enemy whose grin unfolds like dark butterfly wings
in the wilderness
flitting across the alder’s yellow eyebrow, or perhaps we are twins
--tormentor, whose bright eyes are the shade of mine, mired in the same
bad blood.

Now Fall Law is abuzz with digging
and hay rope washes in the burn, medusas,
bronze birds, streams of blood,
beasts dripping with spray, the goddess naked,
sacrifices to bind the knot of creation
for the monster since risen.

The gorge is a pulsing chasm. I can smell his skin
and his inside-out organs. And the charred heart devoured
from its pitch black cavern
as he hunts me through the ice; the wreck of snow
melting us to nothing as day breaks onto storm.

At sunrise, I will loosen some more of his flesh,
drive the point home into the molten cast
pupil, break the large bones. The creature is my echo
and my future. But I am his nightfall, his abandoned grief,
and my scarred surface never heals.

 

 

[D.S. Marriott is the author of Hoodoo Voodoo (Shearsman, 2008) and Incognegro (Salt, 2006). His work has been selected to appear in Rodney Lumsden, ed. Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010).]

Copyright © 2009 by D.S. Marriott, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.