Poetry by – AVRINA JOSLIN

a summary of the incident of rape

 

splayed on earth

gossamer silk

binds hairless skin.

 

smell of crotch

as bold as Ratatouille

half cooked

half singed.

 

spinnerets spinning still

on body of youth

toe across feebly

after throes

 

a summary of the incident

of rape by a spider

imbricating silk weaves

onto the body of

 

woman bellows from the pit

of woven crossroads woven

beyond

 

conflating organs

becoming one

arachnid organ of

blood webbing –

 

on the seventh day

when all was spun

with eight eyes

he saw

 

gossamer of youth’s body

meting away

 

gossamer of youth’s dreams.


 

Soaping Someone You Love;                                                                             for Beginners.

 

  1. Wash your hands;                                                               let it hold your soul.

 

When you touch him,

parts of it will erode.

 

You will lose.

 

Saliva to masticate

haphazardly broken

umbilical cords;

 

manure for pasture,

new tendrils on his skin

to climb and rope.

 

 

[You will not lose by the end of this, newbie.                                       Soaping someone you love

who will never soap you

is mulch

for the remainder of your soul.]

 

 

  1. Say grace.

Thank you Father

for this blessing.

 

  1. Bless him.

Crumble mountains

in the eye of your mind.

Call forth their gold, sapphires,

gemstones without names.

Give them all to him

before your eyelids bat

in second thought.

 

  1. Bless him more.

There is

no second thought.

 

  1. Look him in the eye.                              Pupils dilating, shivering,

crypts and furrows of the iris making way

for his reflection,

now, safely ensconced

inside your head.

 

 

 

 

  1. Bend your head to his chest.

‘One doesn’t defend one’s god;

one’s god is in himself a defense.’ *

 

 

  1. Embrace what’s left of him.

He’s fought you away.

Chipped you off him

one grain at a time.

Parts of discarded you

hold parts of him

that tear away

with you.

In this room

is all he knows

as him,

as all of him.

Hold it, tight.

 

  1. Water him.

Lift each pot before you water,

slowly moistening his soil until full

running out the bottom.

 

[Move away; this is not for you]

 

 

  1. Soap him head to toe.

Your palms

your fingertips,

with and without

nails,

your tongue,

cheek, bones –

scrub him with all these.

 

  1. Erase him.

His dead skin

caked in your nails

is the second erasure

you’ll cause him.

Loose hair

goes down the drain.

 

  1. Talk to him in your head.

Remember running

through unkempt meadows

feverishly kissing

hidden in overgrown grass

of curious childhood?

 

[Give him the echo]

 

  1. Rinse him.

Pay attention to his underarms

where soap sticks in lines.

Inside and behind his ears.

 

[Stop only when asked]

 

  1. Towel him.

Pick the towel off the radiator

where you hung it for warmth.

Make a joke running fingers where he’s ticklish

so there’s laughter even if the joke fails.

 

  1. Say, I love you.

He won’t say a thing

even in your head.

 

Soaping someone you love

who will never soap you

is mulch

for the remainder of your soul.

 

[If it remains at all.]

*The Aspern Papers, Henry James


 

A and Another You.

 

 

A photograph of you, folded eight times to fit his hands

he opens like a flower, petals breathe to unfurl in his

palm, a you.

 

*

 

He smiles because it’s you. It was you. This was you.

He cannot shut up. His bangs jump with him.

This is the first time they’ve used the legroom.

 

*

 

You don’t do anything. You’ve never done anything

but become, stop becoming. Walls and places

that don’t move. He says settled. You say stagnant.

 

*

 

Why did he find a photograph of you in this house?

In the attic where you lay half face paralysed

a curly piece of metal pulling it in place by your lips.

It still pokes inside.

 

*

 

You’ve been there twice in the last two years and

it wasn’t to mop or dust or flick through these pictures.

You go to talk to all the yous you’ve left there.

 

*

 

The time you had a pox you scratched your plagued tongue

on the roof of your mouth wanting to retch

the blood, flesh, pus and when this wasn’t enough

you wanted to retch your mouth, your tongue, your jaw.

Spit out everything that may follow as consequence.

 

*

 

You never let him up the attic. It might

give him a run for his money to see your pox marked half

stands as half, guts, throat and other things in hand.

 

*

 

He called it the zombie apocalypse once. Rushed to put

his face between your breasts and you did what you knew

well to do, put your nipple to his mouth, to tears leaking

with milk drops down your belly. He sleeps standing

at your breast.

 

*

 

They said the pain’d go away if you gave birth.

You’ve done it thrice but every month a crippled you

lies on a scarred stomach in river blood.

His bangs grow on these three days.

He knows but still sits on your back.

A you in the attic told him to do so.

 

*

 

He reads to you through these three days. The same story,

the last story you wrote, about the lizard that fell every

day on your face in the morning when your tall hands

opened the door. It went on to say how its tail broke,

almost fell into your mouth.

 

*

 

He cuts your hair in front of the toilet mirror.

He is smaller than your head, stands on a stool with a blade

sawing your tresses because there’s no time to look

for scissors which is inside a box in the attic but

there’s no time to go fetch it because there’s no time

to console, weep with or breast feed, again.

 

*

 

There’s a you with the scissors who thought it right

to untangle a seemingly knotted vein with it.

She’s still trying, you know it.

 

*

 

The photograph of you is eighteen, a pot head,

a virgin who claims otherwise. You dated a sleazy

old professor who took pictures of your breasts

in the parking lot inside his yellow car.

 

*

 

You see his wife two days later, she throws this

at you but you cannot claim otherwise.

You look around before admitting it.

You’re a virgin.

In the photograph.

She doesn’t believe you. You tell

her he fingered you to break you. He didn’t

break you but went to claim that you were

already broken. You’re a liar of your body.

 

*

 

If I were your body, I’d send you out.

Ask you to find my hymen, give it back to me

so when the Professor fingers me

it’d break,

flow blood down my skirt, a little on his seat.

 

*

 

You want to believe you broke you.

 

*

 

You take the photograph of a you from him,

tuck it into a pocket. He’s asleep on a chair

when you walk to the attic of the home you

were born in, grew up in, fucked in, fucked up in,

and are fucking in. You return it to the you

who wanted to keep things in a box, safe.

All things of you. You look for the hundredth time

in it for your hymen. Still not a clue.

 

*

 

You break your knuckles. All ten of them.

In all the rearranged pasts and present yous.

 

*

 

When you go back and now it isn’t the same you

when I began the poem. Not even the you who

gave away the photograph or the you who got it.

But another who found the scissors and is so quickly

chopping, not cutting, golden straight bangs to fall

onto your legs, as he sleeps leaned in suckling.

 

*

 

This too, is one of you.


Neighbours

Nelly called the other day,

two beers in hand, the Green Hornet

and a seven month old.

Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee

she screamed at the door.

I thought twice to let it in but did,

no way to take only Nelly.

 

Two beers weren’t enough.

Soon Nelly’s boy friend

showed with two six packs

and I said I didn’t drink it.

She shouted at him and said

she’d already told him.

The mutt doesn’t remember anything

about me or you she says.

He left to buy some more

and didn’t come back,

the baby slept on the couch.

 

Nelly thought we were drunk

shouted Bruce Lee in a mask

Bruce Lee in a mask, black.

When the big screen was shaking

she turned to close the door but

hit the baby on the cheek with

her elbow.

It didn’t wake up, she hit it again

to see if it was alive.

 

I wasn’t comfortable.

Hadn’t been since that night

when the baby was in their couch

and I was there stripping like

a wild child in front of another

big screen to her boy friend

who wasn’t coming back

or never will.

 

Nobody gets these things these days

but it has intuition. It has sense

uncorrupted it can wake up one day

and say, she was there in front

of that man shaking and gyrating

a flabby tummy in a Persian

imitation of Nava Aharoni.

 

Kato says, excuse me, please let me,

the music goes tun tun tuh-duh da

tuh-duh-da, tuh-duh-da.

On the third kick the door gives away.

Nelly claps in exultation, the baby

wakes up, shoots a shrill cry to us.

I in fright pick it up, run out the door

Nelly still goes Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee, like before.


In the wake of all things

 

that have happened to us,

we will cower into ourselves

 

without supplying space

for our spine’s breath.

 

From coccyx to atlas,

we will remain folded

 

till we hear dog chains

removed from around

 

our necks. Even then,

we will unfold only

 

in pieces unsodomized,

unraped. In count,

 

only

a few left.


***

K9A2943

Avrina Joslin writes fiction, poetry and travel essays, usually, about her childhood memories, sexuality and the body – all in fragments or new versions. She’s currently working on a novel which her best friend called ‘grossly erotic’. Her work has been published in Elsewhere Lit, EQView, Cadaverine, Four Quarter’s Magazine,  Miso Magazine, Coldnoon Travel Poetics, etc., She writes at www.avrinajos.com and tweets @AvrinaJoslin

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