Animality of the Mouth

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? 


Twitter: @bachtlorelei

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