From Stardust to Sinew

Two Poems
by Tanaka Mhishi
 
The Art of Mothering
 
Your cannibal grandmother
in the Ice Age on the Bearing Straits
ate the meat of her sister’s thigh
to keep alive the children tendering inside her.
She dribbled lymph and salt,
savoured the sinew and the guilt.
 
She was brownskinned, dancertribe,
fat ankled with pregnancy. Full of meltwater
in a landscape of ice, surviving
one morsel at a time.
 
And you, descendent of this gruesome craft
are more beautiful than she ever imagined.
Deep in the underfrost she weeps
tears of ice, her fleshless fists still clenched
on a flower stalk, a baby-tooth, a bone.
 
Flow (For Kyle)
 
I love you. It waxes and wanes.
Some days I imagine your face and it’s like
a deep ticking inside me, a wasted muscle.
Then, palming apples in the supermarket
my love for you will shake me by the
shoulders, drain my chest of oxygen.
Fruit rolls in the aisles.
Seeing your face at the station
I wait for a pang of want. Nothing.
It is only later, when your head moves,
birdlike to music, or smile slashes open
your moonscaped face, that I have to clutch
at my own thighs. Sometimes your typing hands
get me so hot I want to pour myself right
into you. Sometimes I want to smash
the keyboard. When you’re here
I look forward to unshared
bathwater and less washing up.
Then I am sat, peeling sweet clems
or clipping valerian leaves for tincture
and there is a river running along my spine,
running like a current, running like a song, running
like a lamplight through the gloom, and the floor
falls out of my love for you, and I remember
we are stardust wearing skin, and I could
kiss every molecule that you
have ever been.
 
——————
 
Tanaka Mhishi is a poet and playwright. He prefers tea to coffee, cats to dogs, sleeptalking to sleepwalking. When he’s awake it’s usually at tmhishi.tumblr.com
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Published by

17numa

Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found. He is a Best of the Net and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Scott's poetry books include: Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press, 2015), Chaos Songs (Weasel Press, 2015), and Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing, 2016). Scott is a member of The Southern Collective Experience; he also serves as an editor for Walking Is Still Honest Press, The Blue Mountain Review, The Peregrine Muse, and Novelmasters.

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