Love Is A Knife With Which I Explore Myself

by Emma Lister

I.
I marry my husband on
a day that does not exist. He has Song-of-Solomon eyes
a bright, forgiving mouth –

a kissing mouth. The birds watch from the walls

when I forget to speak.
The washing lines swirl like planets,
the sea between the sheets.

II.
He says, “Take this. Blood of my blood.

Knead it in you.”

I cradle it – a small angel in a bucket –
it is white and tiny as a star.
There is a time to reap, a time before the flood.

III.
I saw six eyes in my mother’s cotton womb.
Now they follow me wherever we go.

The day I learn to fly, I will not land.
Climb the dandelions and sleep, eighteen days with the moon.

IV.
Still. I have a soft segmented heart,

a pillar of salt which, day by day, condenses.

Came out of nothing – I’d been washing the dishes –
gone before they dried.

V.
His voice commands. The blue is beating, hot.
It is not God, he tells me. You are not good.

I take my daughter’s hand. There is no love

but words to get what you want.

VI.
There is a time to sow. Sculpt. Mould. Praise what you find.

Yet this, I do not see it coming. Nor the new world,
on the end of a blade that stabs me into the next life.