Poem By Lorelei Bacht
What does it mean to hunger, to feed? While we believe ourselves familiar with our own orality, shining a bright light on it reveals otherwise. Both texts magnify and exaggerate this, referring to animals (such as a blood parrot cichlid kept as a pet) to elicit empathy and/or disgust. The speaker(s) is (are) never as humane, or inhumane, as it first seems.
The Cichlid Wife
My quivering red robes offer no guarantee
as to whether I would, or would
not devour whatever fits my lips – a fact
for which I am unwilling to apologise.
Commences a countdown: ten, nine – come
morning, I will be the only one, the one
fish left surveying your miniature creek.
Keeping house is why you brought me
home in that plastic bag: not to befriend
me but to witness intense happenings.
So, look: I happen onto them. I rain a swift
underwater warfare. Machines, machines
all – these fish are mechanical, lacking
in soul. I have one and you have seen it,
which binds. It is only fair that you should
feed the small to the big – a simple case
of arithmetic: I will seine, sift and swallow
anything that fits in my mouth, and bite
your hand when we run out of fingerlings.
Methods of Appetite
What if I had to take it from some-body
else and that some-body refusing until
my face buried deep into the gushing
music of them, trickling along my cheeks?
What if I threw a hole at them and filled that
hole with whichever lump I could clamp?
What if I found it under rocks, smallness
hidden in crevices or between grains
of sand, what if I spent my days sifting,
rolling morsels of glass on tongues, spitting
out what was never it? What if I could
observe its minuscule bodies whirling in arms
of sea and aspire their large numbers to build
my own bones into cathedrals?
What if I stated appetite without stringing
a sentence, but by means of happening?