—split my belly, suture. spare me
your hand and bandage. kneel:
your thighs bracket my hips
as you etymologise me. anatomy
of my father in the skin
around my eyes. night-bathed
I want no light but stars and fire;
bloodletter, you only take me
after dark. needle your semantics
into my sartorius—trace the morphology,
the muscle with your mouth.
what tender masonry you build
in my limbs. carve your decree in
the milk light, mark me
with sweet relief. doctor and polemic
you craft me: a lexicon of want
awaiting your translation.
Shastra Deo was born in Fiji, raised in Melbourne, and lives in Brisbane. Her work deals with the intersection of trauma, memory, and selfhood, with a particular focus on corporeality and embodiment. She is currently investigating the linguistic representations of phantom limb sensation in war literature, and the relationship between war bodies, pain, and haunting. Her first book, The Agonist (UQP 2017), won the 2016 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize.