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Verge 2013: Becoming

THE VERGE 2013 POETRY PRIZE

ANGER, AND THE REGENERATION OF SELF:

BECOMING A FIRE, BECOMING A GARDEN

Sally-Anne Jovic

I

I am filled with an anger that flares brightly

and leaves a hole like a cigarette burn

in my woollen heart

when it’s done shining.

II

If I could open my chest and shake out the cobwebs

I would find flowers

woven

in the soft, rubied-velvet of fascia,

a thoracic garden,

raining down

like ashes

onto the finely combed earth.

III

Let me be present in this:

to feel the heat

of your lashing jaw,

so bent on absolution

that it aches to repent.

Let me bask

in the glory of your unholy

tongue,

a dialect drenched in

sin

and salt.

IV

You are a vessel,

you contain

           seeds.

Every shape

every form

is within your clawed grasp.

I feel

barren,

bereft,

shrivelled.

I am empty

of charm, of water, bound; I have become

thin, brittle to burn

under that same sun

That sun

that warms you

to your core.

I am cooking, festering

in the shadow of your

growth.

V

I untie the knots you’ve turned

in me. You will not in this devastation

   strangle

my bursting heart.

   My conviction –

   silver-streaked

is stronger

than your desire

               to silence me.

My anger is pure:

   a crystalline force

that will shatter

   your wagging

       studded tongue.

If I set myself alight

  you will perish in the flames;

I could live forever,

  phoenix-winged

in my self-contained

regeneration.

VI

Sometimes I am so full

   – coursing,

    straining at my skin –

but when my chest drains of its

   translucent fluid

    I wither,

a kindling heart.

Other times, when through me runs

  a fire: hot, sweet,

renewing –

   my very muscles sprout

            geraniums,

my pores a pearlescent garden in my skin,

   and no amount of

            heat

can stop me.

VII

This night I open my thirsty eyes,

      unfold these water-stained opals;

I let wattles sprout in my charred earth entrails

              and drink, renewed, again;

      I burst with new growth

      in the wake of your destruction.

Verge 2013: Becoming

   by Peter Dawncy and Camille Eckhaus