Back to Issue Twenty-Seven.

Self-Portrait as a Lost Language



We name our bodies / anything that means to gather / flock
& clique

into belonging / into the tamarack wood / into the mouths
of January

the month I buy a bag of sweet / seedless / plum tamarind
& leave

the fruit to rust / we stumble into our blood / wild animals
yoking together

an inheritance / this country of unrest / where loss is shade

every cracked tree / a frisson of terror / each time lightning

the fields / the circumpolar boreal / & commodious prairie

smaller on my tongue / we name our bodies / before they
are unnamed

by the grassland smoke / & the feckless eyes / of those who
mark us

with an x / this winter country / its season of amaranthine

& tender mangoes / I eat the pith & boil the rinds / I hope
the ghosts

of first languages / transpire in the vapour / I am drawn to
every scattering

syllable / stammerings of Kutchi / & coifs of clove to split
the sweet

of this memory / this version / an imagined Dar es Salaam
in a story

passed down / we collect the fragments / gather together

& birch / judge our own belonging / this dream is a basin
of other

dreams / longing slips through like words / my tongue is
a sieve.

Alycia Pirmohamed is a Canadianborn poet living in Scotlandwhere she is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. She was the winner of the 2018 Ploughshares Emerging Writer‘s Contest in poetry, and her work has recently appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Book Society, and Best New British and Irish Poets 2018. Alycia received an MFA from the University of Oregon.


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