Issue 3: D.S. Marriott



The thing sheds its skin in water

Along this river lovers seek sanctuary

The poison of revenge gone native in the grass

A girl admires her half-exposed breasts

Her spine wracked

Her knees bleeding on the path of snow

Beneath a calamitous dream of creation

Fingers sink in unworldly swamps

The surge breaking out of his open rib

Lifting the lid of his bubbling essence

Let him embrace my unmade being

The afterbirth waiting to be milked

In the mewling mouth my innocent mess of grammar

The materials a nightmare, not my fault

The wronged child not in words but in the desire

This fever-drenched, bestial fear

My face inhuman and my eyes a desert

Lovers come and go

But the true other is a muscle between forefinger and thumb

Why avoid his lumbering return?

The torrent leashes down to seal-skin

A girl throws herself in the river

From her extracted enamel walk pock marked crowds

Frightening in their joy, their bulimia

Unmanned by darkness

I flail in the womb

My ripped seam the unsewn hole of Nothing

Go mourn the brother’s broken mirror

As he snatches a bride from the courtyard

After she conceives the earth will burst

And her yellow eye will baffle the corridor

As she fastens the veils of dawn 

Pluck the vibrating string of hematomas

For the monster devoured by his brother

What more can this be but lords and torches

The workers swallowing misery and lead

All the words born out of zeroes

The ice storm black as extinguished hope

This experience has made me unnatural

Where he goes he knows that I will follow


Spoken but unheard.

Whatever was thought or said,

these black, mourning sounds

unsleeve the cauls as fetus-gifts,

their crippled being alien,

a litter in the albumen of thought.

Whatever our deformity,

here it is a lost child.

Because we parented the creature,

here ruin is the sign.

On a filthy mass of rags

breasts lie strapped to words.


Another year has passed. I've returned to the place of my birth,

to the enemy whose grin unfolds like dark butterfly wings

in the wilderness

flitting across the alder’s yellow eyebrow, or perhaps we are twins

--tormentor, whose bright eyes are the shade of mine, mired in the same

bad blood.

Now Fall Law is abuzz with digging

and hay rope washes in the burn, medusas,

bronze birds, streams of blood,

beasts dripping with spray, the goddess naked,

sacrifices to bind the knot of creation

for the monster since risen.

The gorge is a pulsing chasm. I can smell his skin

and his inside-out organs. And the charred heart devoured

from its pitch black cavern

as he hunts me through the ice; the wreck of snow

melting us to nothing as day breaks onto storm.

At sunrise, I will loosen some more of his flesh,

drive the point home into the molten cast

pupil, break the large bones. The creature is my echo

and my future. But I am his nightfall, his abandoned grief,

and my scarred surface never heals.

D.S. Marriott is the author of Hoodoo Voodoo (Shearsman, 2008) and Incognegro (Salt, 2006). His work has been selected to appear in Rodney Lumsden, ed. Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010).

Copyright © 2009 by D.S. Marriott, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.