A poem by Laura Carter: Eden

You’re a man with too many ribs.
Your body remembers that garden, the grass,

the nakedness. Now you live in the dark.

This is what we mean by the weight of living: darkness thrust upon the body
until all you think is

Thank God that we­­­

There are languages you couldn’t speak in Eden. The body

is one we’ve all forgotten,
so you’re trying to relearn, rib by rib. You’re entitled to that

darkness.
You’re fluent enough to finish this.

You can’t tell anybody,you say.
It’s a hallowed refrain.
It’s what we remember­­­it’s all that remains

of Eden.
We are born from ruins and empty, unmarked graves;

We’ve raised the dead again.

Let’s agree to disagree
about where we see this going­­­

We can avoid our reflection in mirrors, Dress up like killers, and bury our bodies a decade too soon.

Without the language
to say Fuck,

We borrow Love
and bring it back the next morning.

Stolen ribs kick and shove in your chest
until you hear their intimate groans even less.

You call it progress.
Confess that this darkness

is what’s beating blood back through your head.

A rib cuts through the black­blue blood and can hardly look at you.
This is what we mean

by the weight of living: being born from a man’s chest after learning his language.

Learning well enough to critique it, then learning not to speak it

and relearning just to sneak it from the corners

of sewn shut mouths.

You ask what we saw in you.
It’s just that there’s a war in you, a violence with no name here yet.

You’re a body in a bomb shelter. You colonise,

Blood on thighs, and it’s never yours.
You trample our modest leaves to the ground then leave what you found

and lodge another borrowed rib in tight. We still call it Love out of spite.

 

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Illustration by Poppy Elizabeth Boys-Stones

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