YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

October 2005

VOL XIII Issue 10, Number 150

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken

Production Editor: Heather Ferguson;

European Editor: Moshe Benarroch;

Contributing Editors: Pedro Sena; Michael Collings; Jack R. Wesdorp; Oswald LeWinter

ISSN 1480-6401




Jessika Tong





   The birth
   Selecting girls
   As women we do not cry
   The bedroom
   Snow Whites verse and bride to her father
   The art of a woman's tongue
   The replacement
   Three days a month
   Being man
   Scarlets mirror, my pearl!
   Sea dweller
   Before the trees
   Birthday suit
   The deflowerer
   Last dance
   The memory of water


   Bath water




Jessika Tong



The woman is a serpent 
A green knot of scales,
Her bones are bread sticks and these black birds
With their feathers gripped in midnight
Are flying her cumbrously to God
Drumming up these seven slipped skins.
Inside each, my uterus patiently waits
Empty as a cup,
There are no lying sperm! No bewitched egg! 

The woman is an elephant
She is tempting Ophelia, the second moon of Saturn
With her white tail "Oh, I have such things to show you, come now, come."
I am following her
Because she is I 
Her four eyes wink, baffling me, the Cyclops
With my two neat slits, my one young eye.
A splatter of artist blue failing
Any real blue, spun like a yarn to the sides of those corpses
These hybrid children that I have lent
Like a toothbrush to my neighbours' warm arms.
Those children, those swollen saints
Pausing for each sin I make. Those thin trees
Readying themselves for bubbling ten fingers,
The C cut, the stepchild
That will slide out in a curious sack
Her red face adorned with sea shapes and fins.

I have abandoned this sleepy room, nuzzled the door men with loose chain
Left the child barking. The blackened faced nurses
With the clipped wings crawling as blind worms
Snug in the wound of the world, gorged fat with death!
I know her ruddy body, the twisted neck wearing that face filtered
In newness, it is mine.
It is my fathers, my mothers
But not my brothers, how they feed it regardless
Hoping she will grow tall as a silky oak.
For nine months I lived with a tiny man inside of me
He had a beard, an apple skin, he had the appearance of a
Middle aged woman but I knew she was man
So I spat him out, quick as a seed.
I did not want him to sprout those
Two legs and ten fingers, a jug of milk!

The woman is a liar
Detesting the sun, she waits for winter
Inside her coat of petroleum, "light me, light me...quick!"
I am ripe as an orange, my eggs in a panic

And my hips. Two torn melons
With someone warm and new left between them.
Small and curled, like a battered wood grub.
The witch will smell her out
She will feed me dates and poisoned pork through shrewd fingers,
She will envision the death dance in my stomach,
Her feet betraying the silence as she grinds the hearth, laughing.
She will hand me over to the bone man
Wearing her best dress, one shoulder bare under the moon
Passing between them a ribboned shoe box, me small as an ant.

The birth

Finally, like your child's homecoming
A pitta-patter in your womb
On four sterilized feet.
I am an essential ingredient 
To your sack of ten children
And with me comes the midwife,
The box, the roof, the ceiling.

I swallowed each of these seven pills
Seven little doors dead bolted.
Each night, gravy coloured thorns
Are laid out at the foot hole of this bed, a cunning trap
To snare the doctor, any one of my seven children.
I sleep, eyes taped to my lover's cheek,
Blind to the sun. She hates my dreams
Burning sets of lids into my feet.
I must be without this world where I am
The beekeeper, the two eyed queen!

Lift up my dress, small pear shaped breasts
Suggest my race.
A sinuous belly filled with early mist,
The unpeeled burn, rough as bark
It is still there after these years
Very faint, jutting in the light
And my mothers voice, drool yet just as violent
As Kosovo vomits itself into my ears like a cotton bud
And into our quiet house

She is slapping me awake and 
Out of death's Co.
Out of his bed! She heard our groans,
They abase the small green slit of her winking eye
Its coiled colours deepening. I never change.
I am as handable as snow.
Freezing the fingers of my warm host.

My clipped bones reclaim their skin where I lay
Unformed and new in her womb.
She has taken them, this mother
And eaten my uterus like a pancake.
The nurse was tall,
A kind giant, her starched arms held me like a thorned wreath
Until my mother screamed for me,
This coiled bundle of new arms and legs.(The possibility of an us.)

One-trick-pony ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The sky was threaded to the sea, two symmetrical twins One wet, the other dry. Threaded now to the small room I share with another's lumber body. Shouldn't it have been warm and new in here, a first prize? But it is black, Black and small. A taped box! I am the boxes' heart. Two men, a pair of blue eyed dolls One fat, one thin with a curved leg Are throwing these silver lines, transparent like a web Into the ocean, baiting her with a green feather, A worm's placenta. I thread my own thoughts onto similar hooks All the while thinking, blood red between my fingers Should they shake, like rattled worms? Ten daughters keen to lift the imagined carp From out of the wet. But only shells, how they'll do. Twelve freckled caravans, the snails as good as gone Eased between the accent of hotel keepers, women like Birds in white rooms. I set them up between books, A potted plant starving of greenness. Blue weary words bow like laces. One immeasurable tongue Curls under the black chipped rocks' bottoms Like a scarf, they can only carry themselves, A hundred of these fossils Dragging arms and legs towards our bare feet. It is an Armageddon scene, the tragedy Of allowing salt to lick away cavities to Form brutal nothingness. This sparrow's heart stays between my ribs This small box with its old breadcrumbs, Its smoky quartz flesh rippled With a cluster of blonde heads. Some young family, Charmingly torn from the pages of Mrs Dalloway. It would be simple to close my eyes on this forever, a gift! My body donated like bait to the ocean, This one father. I lay down for him As fish make kingdoms of my bones, Riding the earth with me, curious beggars.
China ~~~~~ Pink paper trees have sparked a tenderness The Chinese girl's hand quivers, I think she has an itch But she is rolling flowers from thin bark Thus the gentle maddening of nature. It wears a straight jacket And each child is one of its leaves No bigger than a thumb. Give me your children! It would hiss. No girls, just the boys. What would I do with a girl? Where would I go? She is a tree, she will be my matchstick house. Not my heart, it belongs to him Black as a grave. Stop bringing me the light in pin pricks, Can't you see I am happy with my husband's choice. Stop making me tender! Breast and all, abort her! Rip her from this fleshed shell with tweezers. That bell inside of me. Take her like a greying seed from my white throat And put her under the mattress. The clinic did, they did as I said! Rolling her plump as a pea Under my tongue, buried the orphaned seed In my lean cheek like spot of death. Go with her, I said!
Selecting girls ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Who ate from my womb? My daughter is now gone The hooded face of you! Peeling my hips like an orange My breast, citrus quarters! And my body, it has stirred sleepily From its numb roots Melted the green flesh of the vine. My arms, warm quarters Bother a crib, an auctioned house With seven bedrooms Eight neat beds And ten bee boxes swelled with gold limbs! The river has returned this year The fishing boats, the swollen bodies Of bathing pregnant women have also come Sweeping the fruit from the trees A swarm of fruit flies. Oh the sky is falling! Who ate from my womb? Picked the flecked mole from my stomach Stole life like beans? Lima beans, with a dark laughter, A half smile.
As women we do not cry ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Eden robbed the snake! In return the snake defiled woman Cast out that spare rib. Deficient of that rib, that spot of God She could then throw off the third eye of man And climb trees without ladders Keeping the apples to herself... 1. Mary was a plain girl. Flat, the likelihood of a pre-pubescent Boy filed out in silks and long hair. The other women In the circuit dresses, Each checked thumb like an onion head. They are rifled with laws in their words, airy conversations, Grouped as corn starved birds. Mary, yes that one who gave it up to every man that got Her name right. An entire faith. Whore wears suits and weds images of his weeping mother, Sad little boys, such whores. 2. They are all dead Hatching into mummies and daddies from wet eggs, Shell hoods sharp bones. The afterbirth is some Grey felt oyster on their new pink skins. An entire tree, with only three leaves nibbled by the Edge of shy fingers to cover one womb, two breasts Like smiling children. Walking Czars with real hearts, Swinging four dead girls from each nipple. Caramel frames with an extra rib, regular dishes In awe at the penis of Christ. When I saw them later on, waist high in the river Splashing pails of water onto their breasts, Fingers biting their eyes. As women we do not cry. 3. Men in dresses, hairy one toed daughters That I have shared flesh and bone with, tightly spun threads Of anatomy between Without valium, without the body of Mary. My cervix rung out, ding-ding as a small bell. I menstruated, being twenty-two it was allowed But had I, invisibly been taught in the ways of neglecting My own red solace, by buying back that rib. 4. Chasing the snake through Eden. My belly is a hot air balloon Strained and pinched like a kite from my hips. An empty fish bowl tapping the lidless eye of Adam, His dead stare conditioning woman with a fresh beating Marking her like an atlas so she won't forget the stories. Hell is there, a silver coin on my eye I want to pay my own way! God, an awful white woman with full cream milk breasts Has split my body into a half Allowing men to make me their shelter, to wither Forth like worms so I would push for years Denied the effects of morphine. These dwarfs killing me from the inside With blunt axes. As women we do not cry.
The bedroom ~~~~~~~~~~~ Part one - a man in the house of woman I cut off all of my hair, cut of my Arms, my legs, my heart. I am a bleeding stump. I look, introspectively onto the great waste. Do you not walk on me? Your knees quietly involved With my hair. Do you not miss my arms? And my legs that would Wrap about your neck like twin vipers. Daddy, you remain in Bethlehem without a name, Some Christian name but daddy, Like the unforseen daddies. That word, Sharp as a scalpel has cut me, unhinged my clitoris, a quiet circumcision I did not scream. I wanted you to be proud of me, to wrap me up in your parodies, To take me back to Paris where your mother lies as a crippled Ladder in a box. Your yellow eyes circle upon me I know you. Can I be you? Take your coat, your teeth, your gun. Do they resemble you? Your numb sperm. I am someone's fat wife, someone's wishing daughter, Someone's lame fuck! I am something glittering Between your teeth like a piece of unchewed meat A sprung rabbit! The women in the stage house rocked as sea lights Gathering a dollar from each of us. We walked pinned legged to our seats, filed in as peas. A strap torn from that boy's hand He thought I was a man So he was rough with me, bruised my lips with stones And your face, I marvel was his, one white eye In the ebb of your pillows lid. Part two - a man in the boat of woman I am eating oranges, suckling the pulp from between its eyes Like a lunatic, Remnants of the sun, these fat ancestors that drank directly from A socket of warmth. It's all glamorous, A put on rag that sleeps inside of me like a stiff child, Like you daddy, a hint of witchcraft. It was my first time My arms dangled from Ophelia as You drove a piston through my belly. I remember the pollen falling Lightly, as flour onto our dark heads. You said I had a halo You lied, you lied!
Snow White's verse and bride to her father ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. What are they hiding? These masked dwarfs, This love sick prince, this mother? A small town pressed on the edge of a city Line after line of apple trees. Red globed goblins, Polished like a shoe. The guilty inheritance of trees eaten from the inside, Spat out; spat out into the throats of us girls! All young girls here will fill out into men Inhabit the one eyed sperm. Twelve bodies lined like leaves along a sill, Gently browning, snatched by spirituous fingers. They will pack their pockets in pieces of mirror And cross to escape the dementia of mother, some queen. I remember her. Cold white hair, edgy as Prozac. She would never melt, even when I stuck her on the coals, Stuffed her with acorns and butter. This is what child birth makes of us, Amazons, peelers of apples, Vikings! 2. Papa, he is safe in my locket, Around my neck where he click-clacks Against my breast like a small axe Chipping away my heart. I am a bell, great enemy Borrower of the light. Oh, how I have kissed you And your little hood, Massaged you under my tongue. We are on the edge with these two separate bodies. Aren't these out homes? Building and stretching these huts From lion skin so when I bleed each month You can bury me to the shoulders Dragging the night with you as an eye lid Screaming, screaming off with her head! 3. I have seen your hearse being dragged By the wolves through the forest Their claw etched hooves and you Go thump! Thump! Like a fig in my womb. 4. Guess what, domestic audience? I have miscarried two babies. I have watched them exit from between my legs Like slippery eels, their purple faces knotted and I Dreamt of golden hair against my breast. All the while death used his fingers To pluck at my flesh like a harp. How they dance between one another. Ten pretty children. I had them flushed, removed from my hips By the surgeons egg spoon and pot. The blue Capped nurses were seagulls picking the Death worms from my temples. Carrying my dead children past the queen in Cider boxes. They had her face, gorse covered bodies like jelly fish Rose and flattened as if they were made for the sea. Oh all of my precious ones That I have bled in the shower Day after day There are no fire works. Striped of my cast. No homecoming. 5. The dwarfs have arrived home They are still as colour blind The apples all black, the grass red. The dwarfs have come through this door With their shovels and insides bulging with grubs. Three little men, small as mushrooms My baby brothers That have replaced my heart with that of a pig's.
The art of a woman's tongue ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Turn around! I see you. Hairless as a baby's cracked corn young Real as a cherry. Ripe and full Dissolving a valued green stem, a crippled pulse. Its pregnant swell rolled from the jaunts of fingers to Return with the frost. This white grandmother ravishing what briefly came Alive in the sun. Our sex is not discussed, not with you mother anyway. Leading you under the bypass of greying willows, their stringy Leaves. The jittering crows, these loons, Like ash the wind scatters them from the trees Into a thousand graves. Under this hedge, these thorned arms Dark dipped veins littering the creek's vulva Between our bones like plucking tweezers. I rival the watchman, the moons lit pupil... Am I the queen in this ancient house? Sitting in your middle ear Like a bud of something pink Waiting for the bee's stinger to pluck me! There is no eager penetration No easing into our birthday suits like twin jelly beans - But these feathers nailed to my breast. I am some kind of kite constructed from The house of love. I am some species of woman, A killer of birds! I am erected.
The replacement ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Early morning, jabbing at the lite end Of an infected toe nail. A photograph of Daddy, he is soft porn in the bed-sit. Early morning, you have been gone for over an hour And I am a lame off-cut, limping to the toilet To the window wearing nothing But green feathered earrings. I have decided to eat nothing, stare into an empty plate Envision cheese and liquor chocolate, Bits of my lover (for breakfast) I have taken to sleeping with the cat, to picking at Its black and white fur like stuck tape Replacing your drunk sperm With its spearmint eyes. Its delightful love bites With your lips. I remember them, Plump as oyster flesh, quietly stretched Across your face after sex. Those lips, Buttered tarts, things to long for on bus trips.
Three days a month ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Three days a month Twelve times a year I bleed but I do not die Inside a white silk pupa, My womb rips off its children As trees tear themselves clean Of leaves, I am house keeping, Simply riding towards the butcher's guillotine. Eight years I have bled And in the wrong house I have Sucked entire oceans waterless Concentrating on replacing my babies, My pot plants caught by tea cups. Is it my right to bleed? I am again small, famished for fruit The harvest put away, The workers returning home to their pearl teethed lovers. I am contained within the shed, fed men By string! And they now know, This family with its books and spindled beds that I am At last, ripe as a plum. In season. A fox that the blood hounds will tear Into menial pieces, will carry back to man.
Being man ~~~~~~~~~ Being man You are built for bullfights. Being woman I am built for children And homes. I have eaten all of my children I have burnt down my homes. You have killed a crippled bull for me. Anchored its bloodied head above the kitchen door Like a Catholic cross. Being woman I have cooked nothing but clover, Nothing but children. Being man You have eaten without asking, Loved me without warning Deeper than bone.
Scarlets mirror, my pearl! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We set her hair on fire as she slept This mother, this tender green plant. Oh, she will collapse Like a yellowed apple, the centre eaten right out. Will she turn black? They peel from the window, easily as coins Clutching that same fake mirage, a pool in a desert. Fig skins, blue veined in their nettled hoods Small lava like children, bellies stuffed with hair. I prick them, they are as flat as dust now, Deflated balloons. Neat necks like vases Heads bobbing on the ends Of long leafless stems, too weak to hold up They roll like eyes in the back of bleached bones. Night, she lights up the yard With her hands ablaze, two candlesticks In dance. Put me out! The moon is a skull She must have lost at least ten eyes Had they rolled from her Slow as snails, starred back like orphans Tweezed from the belly of this firm tree As it saw the water for the first time, Surely this would put me out, pull down my lids. This hunger, a meat memory For years I have eaten grass And suddenly I yearn for a piece of her arm Rare, de-boned, still bloodied. Inside this mother, the pache-mamma statue I can hear each tendon grow and gather its children. Wombs filling with cropped haired girls, fake little boys! And giving you, these needy starving men back like lost rings. Nailing their mouths to your drought hung breasts in search Of the eternal mother but resembling bats, Latching onto the trees torn flesh digging into her Belly with a knife.
Sea dweller ~~~~~~~~~~~ I rented a small house by the sea. A freckled snail's shell with two bedrooms, a bath - no shower, And a tiny, one woman's kitchen with matching sunflower curtains. A bowl of preserved figs, a collection of child's hair bands. A peaked bed with four cat's feet. I wore a blue dress and walked shoeless to the beach markets to buy strawberries, Crunched over the dying bodies of nerveless leaves To amuse myself with double creamed milk. One glass of it each morning drunk secretly In bed, but fattening me publicly. Down on the beach, it was a Tuesday I was swimming, legs thin as stalks The colour of beetroot. I wondered at the sand behind me, would it give me away? Would the fish smell me out? Chase me from the sand? Broken babies and all. I was sure I was to bleed to death, Die ribboned in my fever. A hundred degrees with no cool cloth. I was sure I would die! But I stayed white down on the rocks Toeing the blue jelly fish lung. There were a hundred of them asleep on the boat ramp They had come in their masses. The water, their Anguished mother had silently abandoned them, left them at The supermarket. Walked away, without remorse, a little less complete But for the better. I collected one in a empty marmalade jar and filled it with tap water, Left it adopted in the bathtub. I remember weeping, like a widow in your car when you dropped Off my things in tea cups, my hips flattened to the sea. These moulds pressed into clear faces Sealing a flapping lung between the pages of hands. It died right there, Motherless. You fed me an olive, I fed you jelly! I choked, what use is the sea with its frail bones That hassle my feet you do not belong. I am a mirror creature, something for the land. I bleed. I do hide it. Burying myself to the chest in the sand, Giving away my dresses. If I had had tears they would have revived you, Laughing jelly fish. Your black iris Stems like a bud from my knees, Captures the inward light of breath. Drinks from my closed lids. I have left the clean air of the sea, the city stinging my lungs Like a bee. But my skin It stayed behind in those brown pelted shoes, two dried sea cucumbers The ones we discovered under the rocks Healing its cavities with moss As I hid. Small as a pin and covering my uterus in seaweed. Beet red dye rolled like a pearl down my leg. Weeping, I fed the sea my arms. It has taken it to some Dark place where only the dead can get to.
Bait ~~~~ 1. I am a hook This is my bait Attracting the fish The culprit orange carp. A pit of a mouth, strangely twisted As if to greet death puckering. A pit of a mouth! That kneads the surface with its tongue Bobs, slips off its arms And then takes me into its stomach. The sun does not get to me here I am in a valley, a flute pipe, An awful script edited by the blind. Shouldn't time have stopped? Now I am in this black grid Facing the hangman, one on one With his tools, rusted spikes and balls Perilously attractive. I stare at them As if these quiet steel blades might Bloom, may unpeel like a bud And I, I the wasp fear that I am too small I mightn't hang so well! 2. I drink you from a passing cup I arrive by plane. My lips Red as bloodied cloth. My desk is untouched, lose threads of last night Peg themselves to words. It is a clothes line, air it. I am cleaned My hair is washed, arranged, placed. My tongue, a furry sponge still tastes of fish Hammering like a heart in my cheeks. A throat burnt, a green plum. I spit you up Like sour breast milk. The unclean. 3. They have stood in for me Held my arms, ripened me. I am now an authentic human being, A doctors cured. Oh mother, your electric cell is padded! Have I been a burden? A cripple? You, in your whitest dress and pleated apron Have become my hospital where I am kept in check, Knotted in your yellow hair like a bougainvillaea. You are my drip, my plastic tube that sits at my chest Kicking in life when I refuse it through Two narrow straws. Choking me, my maternal pearl...my mummy dance... For nine months I was fastened to your body like a tick. I was safe and nursed in those shark less waters. 4. Your twin hips, a whale's bone. He was in the bathroom with his harpoon Waiting to snare you, The stealer of treasures! Mother...back to her. To my roots. Where every thing is a lite hospital room, Is a mobile cherry tree. Guided inside her, a dark fish Reborn to a shockingly pale witch. The ball and chain.
Before the trees ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Let colour return to their cheeks, Let them grow moles and fingernails, Hooked noses! These plum trees, I grew them from small dark pips. First I put them in my mouth Ate their flesh, baring their bones And then buried them, black and unformed in the ground. The worms became their friends, the birds their fools. They are ten this year and are in heat Deaf leaves dipped in a black wax. They crackle, they are becoming too big for their skins! My eye has caught them, a white place set out In four neat rows and my heart, it bounced like a red ball These multiple gifts wrapped in your merciless grasses. Each night, by six it grows increasingly black As if someone has let down a blind, a bun of hair. The moon and her three rings Steal the plums colouring, this orb of bean paper Tacked to the rim of God. Has it a face? An eye? They yawn, great crashing sounds These bones, these hips. They do not pass away Not like a body, but stir to a halt. Hibernates in a forest of spies and under those Dull green arms a small head Broadens in the sun, the first born. There are children everywhere, I am stepping on them with my boots, Smearing their hearts with my heel. I have killed twenty today Made jam from their stomachs, pickled their eyes!
Incest ~~~~~~ The oranges are in season. The bees are silently penetrating the open legs of corn flowers. The rows are set, neat vertical decors Managing such complete mornings in the body of an eyelid. The earth's black mass has swung, I stay, fragile as snow in your bed. It is a hot Saturday. I cannot bear the normality Of eggs this morning, the hungry child screaming for her feathers. The paisley table cloth, the canary's yellow! The clock will let me know when to get up When to merge. My neighbour keeps anonymous. The dead complete the dark In a valley of second suns. They are a chain of letters. A key. The drowned woman possesses the sea, small golden fish Are taking pieces of her Like field mice. She, their eternal cob, the gravy train. My neighbour struggles with her fruit trees A cloud of locusts bludgeon the healthy plants, they are done for! She will starve this year. I will lend her bread. Fed, the waters rip Sucking on a black weight, the nauseating pacifier, A washed child. Adopting my raincoat, a red hat. I remember being out of the house, Getting my period The hot thrill of not being pregnant, My white skirt done for.
Birthday suit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I have come to this stage Holding my great tongue My father's hand. He swims like a goldfish Gills stuffed fat with my fingers. I watch him circle His clean skin close to mine. We are almost one Transformed into Siamese twins. June, the month of bells, Of falling skies. White lace torn from the paedophile's cross. He said follow the ferry to you. Sweet listeners with your names on your foreheads Like red ticks, how-to-do's! Do you know anything of me yet? Do you know the night? The partitioned forest of Antarctica? Its pulse that hums like a bee On my podium where I have come to you Obliged as a politician to lie for you, To epitomise your nature! I have come, nearing death Holding him to my cheeks like a stone.
The deflowerer ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I have named a price on your purest head. My Tongue flapping. I couldn't keep it pinned down Like one of those death butterflies Shooed from the trees with a green gas. So poor paper riddles, plastic hats...achoo! I have told you my latest secret with my Red heart puffed like an adder and my Cheeks flushing poison.
Sixteen ~~~~~~~ Laying in the Backseat Belly pushed flat As a Stone Against his. The streetlight peers through The space of hips Silently touching. Sitting dead Lying dead His chin like a turkey's neck. Left thigh pressed along The valour seat covering As he comes In his Best jeans. Poor Little Petal.
Last dance ~~~~~~~~~~ Walk from death to supper In a new dress...in an entirely Different body! As you are shipped home In a coffin, laced like a corset. A full year shredded between bed feet, Red and yellow. Bug faces of confetti. This is the way! This is how to get to the dead. Seaward, held in a uterus, Wet and sponge-like. I am in the hospital, its glittering walls Its septic tank where the dead Are talking of pulling their bones From the world, To trick the warden. I am led to room eight by a fat nurse Yesterday, a woman died in my new bed with cancer It had finally eaten her heart. And the nurses, painted clowns Fluttered in like bats Erasing the room of its lasting dead, Being prepared. And now I lay like a sea lion Gobbling up fish. The nurse bites me Every two hours with a needle, this one eyed spider. The other wards, Life addicts, death addicts All birds with snapped necks! The pillows in their whitening fields Are as keen as snowflakes, rasping for a warm head. There is a vase of crinkled flowers, all ornaments A gift, a love gift Mailed with a green card Small bees flying paper kites and laughing. Now that I have this proof of love I peel them Like seed. I am in the third grade with a star Placed affectionately on my breast. I am desiring my teacher. The key is an invaluable recipe of me transforming From the ice tray to the glass, the sick to the pedestal. Mother, mother Your odd white dress It is only three o'clock. You look like a nurse How I hate you in white On your way to fix me like a table, To pull my legs from their roots, to plant me. Paper sheets, hard hats You enter like ghosts Wanting bodies to live in like warm houses. I must eat; I must force these dry grins, Hatch eggs in my nest. You spill your yolk like water Clear and offensive. And I am the small bee, this pea on your plate Rolling from your knife. Oh, how you laugh at me like golden necked lions Draped in health like meat.
The memory of water ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Father, you are concerned with The rust that is killing the trees' branches. But you are leaving the trees, my mother And bandaging your heart with bed sheets. You are remembering to forget me in my sad green dress, Approaching you as a woman and you Are looking for that child in volumes of photo albums. She is dead. Have you noticed that I own breasts? They came up, intimate pink buds Like they had been planted for this reason, Two bulbs growing like apples. You will eat them on me, you will return Home numb and carrying the snow in sheep's skin. The white ferry has floated past our house Where the pines shoulder the flat hills Where they bleed from their cut off hands. I cannot touch them as Their brown scars heal and they bloom Clean fresh fingers. We cut them down in November and used Them as Christmas trees and fire wood. They weren't happy but draped their Crippled arms about us as Back scarfs. I cut off a piece of my own arm and Planted it by its gnawed roots. Nothing grew, nothing transformed! We have killed an entire forest, we are butchers Me and you father both, have switched bodies and domesticated a language.


Bath water

Here is the hangman, above us. A clove basket,
A clever tool. The garden is growing over its edges
And I am hacking off its limbs, sparing nothing.

Where are my knees? The dark pubic hair.
There is nothing between them,
No beet red child's face. No lion,

No deaf actor. 
The water runs clear. I can see
Through it bars. When I move it parts.

Am I the white boat tilting its hair?
My feet float, twin rudders and my hands
Like square oars are beating, separating me

From these lines. Shouldn't it be white in here?
It is Halloween, the witches are out
Gathering bag fulls of fat children like berries.

A pink pip emerges from the centre of me
Like a cut thumb, Red Riding Hood
Has stripped in my lap, has proven me real.

All poems copyright (c) 2005 Jessika Wong


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