Echo Chamber Sweet-Talk

By Aïcha Martine Thiam

I’ve been trying to wear love on my chest
and say it with my chest, but well-wishers,
they harry. Good luck, merry this, I wish you
that and more, it wears out my tensile
strength. Forget Emily Grierson: I am Hannah
asking Eva is she ever loved me, days before
I catch flame and she plunges out a window
to save my life. Survival. But what’s the point
of survival on the balance of a single foot,
half-masticated, barely swallowed, held by
slack and bitter fingertips, kept in bosom
barely sighing relief? Caution, meet Wind:
what’s the point of survival in which cessation
is welcomed open-armed at turn and turn? In which
life is an onus blanket swathed and tucked
over perspiring bodies? Life looks after like,
we cannot see you waste it, so they say: but
what’s the point of survival in which pinpricked
heart self-vandalizes at waxwaning breaks? Shall
I shoulder the posthumous guilt for giving the
go-by a second look? Where afterlife unfolds,
could my weightless shoulders do it then?
Right now a mother’s heavy eyes, too much to
pay no mind blare don’t you dare, a sister’s
word pauses they say don’t you dare. But what’s the
point of survival in which the recovered one
still prowls and haunts the stake?
I’ve been trying to wear love on my chest
and say it with my chest, but all roads are
good roads that lead far from this. If I stay here,
this place is going to kill me. And life:
I’m on my ninth go around.

A. Martine is a trilingual writer, musician and artist of color, and might have been a kraken in a past life. She’s an Assistant Editor at Reckoning Press and co-Editor-in-Chief/Producer/Creative Director of The Nasiona. Her collection AT SEA, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Kingdoms in the Wild Poetry Prize is forthcoming with CLASH BOOKS. Some words found or forthcoming in: Déraciné, The Rumpus, Moonchild Magazine, Marías at Sampaguitas, Luna Luna, Bright Wall/Dark Room, Pussy Magic, South Broadway Ghost Society, Gone Lawn, Boston Accent Lit, Anti-Heroin Chic, Cosmonauts Avenue, Tenderness Lit. Twitter @Maelllstrom, Insta @Maelllstrom, website www.amartine.com

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