Sometimes I am so terrified when I wake
by the problems of the world
that I cannot move my small body
into it. I used to be one of those people who fights
the whole damn lot, or tries
But it is so complicated, it just made me want to lay
down. Now I sleep without you, and sometimes I want to lay
down in front of something, to wake
in a lock-on, concrete tube cold on my wrist, to be trying,
at least, to love the world
as a verb. It is what I have to fight
with: the most solid thing I have, this body.
In the end, people don’t really want to hurt each other. This body
can stop bulldozers by being easily crushed. It lays
like a taut rope, frayed. But this fight
is sometimes also a wake
for the things that have gone from the world,
and it is hard to get up. I am trying
to hold hope and sadness both in these trembling, trying
times, to trust my soft and solid body
to contain the lot in its complicated world:
to figure it out in muscles and veins as I lay
in my sheets struggling to wake.
It is exhausting, this fight.
I have no idea of the fights
going on inside me, all the cells that try
to keep me safe. But still, I just want to wake
with you again. If all the blood vessels in my body
were made into a rope and laid
out, they would stretch twice around the world
and more. This glowing stony trees and lakes world.
Even so, I don’t have the answer that will win the fight.
I can only think of you and the sea and how we lay
on the beach wrapped twice around each other and we were trying
to make our bodies
The world, it is trying.
It is not always a fight, my body
sometimes unfolded, laid out, awake.
About the Contributor
Katherine McMahon is a performance poet. As well as writing and performing, they run participatory projects and events, and have an MA in Creative Writing and Education. They debuted their spoken word show, Fat Kid Running, in 2017. They hope to use poetry to help build a more just, more sustainable, kinder world through community and solidarity.
Witchbody - Sabrina Scott
More from Issue Ten:
- Tracks of Life and Death by Liz Kohn
- A short course of treatment by Tim Love
- Heating disorder by Myriam Frey
- Heirlooms by Rosie Garland
- Mourning by Katherine McMahon
- The Ghost of my Mother is waiting for me in Arrivals by Claire Collison
- Pakistan Zindabad, from Abroad by Hana Riaz
- Adopt a vortex by Han Smith
- Sea Sickness by Eloise Unerman
- British Street Music by Tamim Sadikali
- Pomegranate by Caroline Gonda