Issue 26: Jazmine Linklater


I had prepared the bad, finless fish, shucked its scales

and later laid its hot flesh down on the marble slab.

I watched its heat dissipate and then left.

I marched through the forest of things I don’t own.

I had decided to believe in containment.

I came to the cabin of sky seldom seen

and followed displacement of space up the ramp

to the right and then left and then right. 

Geometrical fondness spread through my limbs.

In the ceiling the aperture’s frame meets at right angles.

The image moves on a far-flung wind I don’t feel.

The sky can’t be violated by looking.

I did not eat; neither pollutant nor bread

nor the wine. Wet heat would not balance

on hard cold, nor opposites be parsed

from connection. I made myself separate.

The forest outside is a grid: happily striated pines

pointing straight up, each its own axis. What’s below

is below sight; there is only between.

Not the hot flesh too close to the marble.

The frame flattens and calms my allegiance to axes. 

The image comes all the way down in my care

for the vertical; it moves horizontal, as I do

in parallel. I believe in the frame and its candour.

I have walked through the forest at twilight

and dawn when its shadows lay neatly in stripes.

At night and midday the arrows stand upright

and hold up the table-top sky. A strategic reserve;

a resolve. Eyes that look out are not aperture.

I cut the rain from the image; it violates strata.

I have decided to believe in containment.

Everything good meets at right angles.

I watch shade trace velocity, left to right,

light and then dark and then light. The sky

is not mine as the land and the frame are not mine.

I picture the layers of cold fish over cold marble

in the cavernous house I had borrowed and left.

The cabin of sky seldom seen smooths all curvature.

I look at the image and my eyes do not open my body

to change, neither organs nor bones.

The frame is a remedy. Every distance is fixed.

I am contained. Cut clean on my axis.

Jazmine Linklater is a writer and poet based in Manchester. Her most recent pamphlet, Figure a Motion, is published by Guillemot Press. A manifesto, Future Notes Towards an Alternative, is currently on display at the Harris Gallery, Preston.

Copyright © 2021 by Jazmine Linklater, 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.