Postcolonial Nervosa
and Other Poems


Postcolonial Nervosa

I pressed the weight
of my body against
the doorknob resisted
throwing my full
prerogative behind it
my daughter was retching
herself to death
she thrust to where
her gut bucked
acid & gave out
a taurine heave
that she stifled
by running the tap
till she just couldn’t
empty herself any-
more than she had
already to face me
she folded a spear-
mint Trident beneath
her tongue flipped the dead-
bolt licked both lips
looking so hungry
said have you let
the supper
burn? I grabbed her
wrist circled it
with two fingers—
how could you
expect me to stand
here you don’t fool
anyone with white
teeth or that maxi-
dress won’t hide
mini won’t solve any-
thing—I didn’t
mean to upset you—
she stepped past
me once more
at the stove stabbed
the cut flipped
& forked a chunk
grinding it round
round her mouth—no
salvage now so
let’s have it
out—: why go on
this way? you’ve got
choice don’t have
to beat yourself
up she shook her head
down her throat
the lump descended—
how else to tenderize?
Too tough to meet
my eyes at all
appetite cowed her
left her quaking & knife
thin the sheathe
between a history
of slaying & now
lay down your life—
I’d cough up the last
morsel she said &
the deed left to me—:
forgo my own
temptation to banish
her dis/ease deserves
no salvo & what I know
about redress
is only the mess
of letting seams
out & sometimes
you can’t—no going back,
nobody gets what is
fitting—no such thing
as bloodless living
requires you too
swallow

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