Poetry | Two Poems by Jasmine Gray

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Paul Cézanne, La Corbeille de pommes, 80 x 96 cm, Musée D'Orsay

Jasmine Gray


Two Poems

 

decorative

your vulnerability is that you are a joke
you know you are a bruised peach
you can pinpoint the date and time it all began
you fear anyone who meets you now will know
you want to slip inside cool water
you will let him destroy you then wake up the next day
and do his dishes
you say okay and fine after saying no a thousand times
you realise this isn’t what consensual means
you throw up
you think if you could bite into your bones they’d crunch like an
apple, not a nectarine
you want people to belong together
you belong to every man who has ever touched you
you realise love has an edge
you’ll never have sex again
your thoughts will outlive you
you think souls exist but have nothing to do with morality
and everything to do with cool water
heaven is conditional
you decide to like people depending on whether they accept your friend requests
you realise women are a metaphor and faking it
means you’ve never been loved

a shadow of it
maybe –

 

Eating unsliced cucumber is an anarchist act

don’t you think? i ask, slicing the pointed green tip

we’re in a time of no sex but
half an hour before
we’d pressed against one another
all breath and hunger

you’re barely listening

an artistic act? you repeat
can you cut me two slices?

tenderly, i slice two concentric slithers –
half-moons – promise myself:
this is not a metaphor

i know we’re going to end but i don’t know when
i think we’re going to end or else
we’ll continue in circles forever

the cucumber waits on the chopping board
in a pool of its own secretions
thinking death has surely met it

is it not tiring always thinking about cucumbers
and anarchism, like you’re some kind of fucking
vegetable missionary? i want you to say

are you not exhausted, feasting on diluted pulp,
expecting fulfilment?

i want to pick up the cucumber and shove it so far down my throat i choke
i wonder if you’d laugh or even look up
i wonder if it’d turn you on

who is looking at me while i look at this cucumber?
pathetic, parted from its head, pooled in its own wet

in a few years this will all make sense
in a few years there will be no proof this dead thing existed

for now, the cucumber waits
begging for disorder
i lift its willing body to my mouth
let my teeth grate a hole in the silence

i wonder what rot will find it first

 

Jasmine Gray is a Northern writer, with an interest in exploring the female experience and portrayals of the body. She is a Writing Squad graduate and has words in The Book of Bad Betties (Bad Betty Press, 2021), Tilt (Open Eye Gallery, 2021) and The Double Negative (2021). In 2021, she was the winner of the inaugural First Light prize for art criticism and she is currently shortlisted for the Edge Hill MA Short Story Prize. Her debut poetry pamphlet, Let’s Photograph Girls Enjoying Life, is published with Broken Sleep Books (2019).


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