Take a Deep Breath

by Ellora Sutton

(After ‘The Beast in the Space’ by W.S. Graham.)

Keep to the edge!
To be sure,
the shore is your friend.

Look at how she wends,
sharp black forked tongue,
up and over the horizon lines,
lashing, thrashing,
serpent, siren,
tale as old as ink.
Don’t turn the page!
Her fossils are here,
but overleaf
her venom is still wet.

She wants to make seashells of your ears.
She wants to devour
her home-space in your head,
to know herself,
taste herself,
in voice,
read.

Stop reading, stop reading,
she’s slithering in,
slurping up
the grey-matter microphone,
taking up the reins,
nonsensical lexical shape-shifter –
these thoughts are not your own.

Keep to the edge!
Or is it too late?
Are your fingertips her scales,
your mind-voice her thurible,
your eye her gate?

But you may yet be saved –
just don’t turn the page!