(after Federico García Lorca)
I have known you for as long as I lived.
Or perhaps not. A gremlin bites into apples
and spits them out. A ferry moves from sea
to harbour, crossing bridges in the dark.
All these moments are grainy clips cut
from videos, carrying the certainty of sleep
and growth. I could never get enough sleep.
Your voice was sandpaper, louder than live
music and anything that a child could cut
and toss from their attention. I drank apple
juice and imagined it was poison. The dark
terrified me more than anything out at sea.
I remember vomiting on a ferry out at sea,
loss leaking through skin. There is no sleep
for the wicked and guilty, touched with dark
miasma deigned to force one to believe
how difficult it is to carry on moving. Apples
became my only food for days. I would cut
them into sixes and chew loud enough to cut
through your hissing. The sound of the sea
was solace against all the poisoned apples
planted in my mind. All the years I slept
through were spent running in cities, living
for impossible days, never far from the dark.
I see your leering frame persist in the dark.
Our features remain identical. Trying to cut
you out was fruitless: I know I cannot outlive
this part of myself, the same way the seas
refuse to be still. We share the same sleep
and silence, and the same love for apples
slightly browned and unpeeled. Now, apples
replace the fruit of knowing borne from dark
days with you. I taste the latter in my sleep
and rust rends my tongue with deep cuts.
The end of desire still beckons from the sea.
I know you will remain for as long as I live.
And I want to sleep the sleep of apples:
because I want to live with that dark child
who wanted to cut his heart out on the sea.
(Envoi lines are derived from Gacela de la Muerte Oscura (Ghazal of Dark Death) by Federico García Lorca, translated by Catherine Brown.)
By Nicholas QuekQLRS Vol. 22 No. 1 Jan 2023