A WET CRIMSON BUSHEL OF PEARS

stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples:
for I am sick of love.
—Song of Solomon, 2:5 KJV

perhaps scatter the scarred breadcrumbs    far and few
between and        the trail will seem shorter        every day
is a desert    waylaid in    the back of my throat

prickly-pear me into sustenance        this body is betrayal
look at these protesting joints  my one weeping eye      these
allergies      swelling my voice shut

I think often about taking a long trek
on short notice               maybe                  I wouldn’t like the
sand much but I’d find it easier to be, there

unhampered the moon   unhinged the coyotes     all
those wayward symbols of       death buzzards not
so easy                 made corporeal              gifts given   short shrift

when we get everything we want      which is now
the first thing        embroiled in happenstance      and
the brilliance of firelight           stoking menace

find me a perfect stone            upon which to rest my head
no other crutch              smooth just as wisdom is a wine
milky battered      and perhaps sheltering a serpent

we come here to bleach our bones in unerring light
such that     everything crumbles       returned to me
various heaving heavinesses     spilt salt across               a dark stain spreads

under the single-minded glaring eye of horus
I don’t dare bring my feeble doubts   no longer
the pacing   only the being
                                                still                   a feat


Marylyn Tan is a queer, female, Chinese Singaporean, linguistics graduate,
poet, and artist, who has been performing and disappointing since 2014.
Her first volume of poetry, GAZE BACK (Singapore Literature Prize 2020,
Lambda loser), is the lesbo Singaporean trans-genre witch grimoire you
never knew you needed. Her work trades in the conventionally vulgar,
radically pleasurable, and unsanctioned, striving to emancipate the
marginalised and restore the alienated, endangered body. She is the founder
of multidisciplinary arts collective DIS/CONTENT (hellodiscontent.carrd.co).

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