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Imogen Free: Two Poems

Published on 5th December 2019

Beachcombing

If you could open up pink
and sandy the shell
your tongue and spit out
the husk of it then maybe you
could start again, say something
or let him too see your soft
insides, again, or say no more

(once you ate spaghetti
with clams and white wine
and words came easy
and touch was the only thing
heavy handed that summer)

now sodden with too early
winter and smelling of wool,
no sea salt or fresh breath
though you have almost
twisted your ankles trying
to walk among the sponge
and lino together, naming
red dye plants and bloated
berries and wearing out
all the old words until
new ones won’t come

you must choose weather
dependent or storm bracing,
to live more or less together,
to stay sewn but let the scar
turn pearlescent, or to tear
open and add salt, to try again
to taste without open and close,
to think without saying as
you know good things, yes.

Photograph by Bradley Higgins.

Salve

I lift my skirt to pee
and the ruffle wafts
lavender - medicinal,
indelicate, rubbed
into the pearly pig-ear
scars on my stomach

But above the pin red
witches’ mark of my birth,
the line drawn is fading,
because of lavender, and time

My mouth is gluey
from talking to myself
of myself like this
but we stick together
me and mine,
it is a disappointing
marriage, true love

Here is what I think of
true art, she said making
faces/out with him/love

love in the back room
love new in laughing
ha, this is it, this is life!

But I can’t remember
the last time you made me laugh
(I can remember the last time
I loved you)
I can’t remember the last four times
we’ve slept together

and you’ll say it’s because I drink too much
and I’ll say it’s because you revolt me
and I won’t mean it always, just today,
and next week, and sometimes, I’m sorry
I’m a brute like this, I’m just in pain

Imogen Freeis a LAHP-funded first-year PhD student at KCL, researching modernist women's writing and the resonance of interwar cultures and technologies of sound.



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