Our plane falls towards a stretch of river dark as charcoal and very still we nosedive down it’s disappointing I wake up.
Sudden godlessness in the dark a screeching sound a plane overhead.
A small stone turtle swims against a current of pale grey pebbles towards a slab of rock.
An open space of pebbles is raked and raked by monks, the eternal sea they’re never allowed to forget, and the glossy bamboo feels like madness and plastic.
High school kids with their eyes closed fumble their way between two lucky stones and here’s my translated fortune, You will misunderstand one another.
What happens if I crack hard the spine of my Bible ha, like this and snapping the pages scream with anger searching for an appropriate verse, Be sober-minded; be watchful.
During last night’s deep-fried everything on sticks they numbed my mouth with heat and oil and finally spoke.
Octopus, eel, green pepper, pumpkin, remember, lotus root, remember, battered and, battered and, decisions take time but the rules write battered and skewered sexual sin the right
and the wrong ways to think and live in chewy gold, with an oily gold crust, and do I accept with a godly gold crust can I gulp that, will I gulp it, gulp it down.
I wake up godless, or I wake up and experiment with waking up godless, or waking up thinking I’m godless which would mean the same thing, if I actually thought it.
Bare-shouldered on the balcony with pencil-coloured light and godlessness like suddenly taking off headphones – silence.
How we came to the thatched yellow house at the edge of the yellow field and stepped inside gently, a tidy poem.
These decisions take time she says in the doorway putting a hand to my shoulder beginning to wrap my neck in gold string winding it down and down my torso it’s inescapable I wake up.
violent and gives
slide slide into
the sea and
a whirling boy
is David floodlit
to speak to you,
to ask for enemies
still he names
refuge as if for
the likes of us
at least you’re
safe – September
air humid like
sponge cake in
a dark café
off a sponge cake,
I try to reconcile
and He is our
loudly insist, let
me open their
heads I’d see
but you are not
safe, not a soft
shape – you
unfold in me
a waxy bud to
the lip then the
tongue the gut
the spikes of
the grass the
wings of a wasp
as sheets of
water spill from
How would I
rate the quality
of my call Our
father father father
I roll that
a hard thick
of a sleep will
not fix this. As
the deer pants
of water, what
I don’t know
can’t also be
is not faith, a
of shells, the
shells shells shells
make me sick
how dare they
into a run on
the way to
you so what
is a boyfriend,
when the park
is full of rice-
are black shiny
beasts slit down
the middle and
just a glimpse,
a flicker of
yellow – as the
water so I keep
that the kindness
we practice is
Devotion pares a body down –
northern sea, fresh fish, knife to cut a question out.
As snowflies push the air I stop rustling
and kicking and fall still – there is a universe
in which a problem exists and another in which
you push again against
all pristine logic, I pick you up
and your head clicks back, your eyes
roll back, the battery in your chest crackles
stand up – leave your mother father lover –
pack your precious body into a cube for me –
you crackle peace, peace
I leave with you – a dripping circle
hovering here in the part of my brain
where I only want, where I pick
a universe. Press myself to it. Each line of prayer
becomes hot, unbreakable,
Your eyes to my eyes Your skin to my skin –
in this heat we worshippers starfish our hands
or clutch ourselves as if stabbed or as if
it’s the first time we’ve ever worshipped
and we’ve known nothing, nothing like it and yes,
I fall in with this code –
by loosening the body I become light and sinewy,
a loosened body is trusting, you stream down
my throat like cold fruit juice and my hands
open out, outside it turns colder,
the city is lightly frosted Lego,
mountains surround the city
Annie Katchinska was born in Moscow in 1990 and grew up in London. After graduating from university she spent two years living and working in Sapporo, Japan, before returning in 2013 to London, where she is now working towards a diploma in child counselling. She was a Faber New Poet in 2010.
Image credit: stephen frith