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from the September 2016 issue

Three Poems from “Tattoos”

German–born Eva Taylor considers the process of inhabiting a new land and a new language.

Kleidleid                                                                                

pierced fabric
empty of flesh
covered with scales
breath of skin
not mouth

i wanted to exhale
another me
make an A from an E
without a rib
only a needle
of letters

pull out this thread of loss                                      
the line that leaves no trace
unloose the old pages
the white spaces                  

thread yourself in
resew me
on the next page

 

[Untitled]

on the atlas of my skin
your names
I sense them, sing them
in the first language and the second
lost luggage that spins
on the axis
of the first shoulder and the second
and all the past
in a single point

 

Ekdysis                                                                                  

A scale of your skin                                                              
at the end of the hall                                                           
there where the sea dies out                                                          
and no one waits to ferry
across.

Maybe you already left, maybe you never came              
the sea brings no news of you or others
only Flaschenpost, bottled language                      
at dinner, lunch                                                                    
at breakfast.                                                                                                             

Words flowing freely,
words with their skin turned inside out
all taste of corked wine, of translation.

 

From the section “Tattoos” in Volti di parole. © 2010 Eva Taylor. By arrangement with the author. Translation © Olivia Sears. All rights reserved.

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