Cathexis Northwest Press

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Easterners

Her mouth gurgles with marbles

that she plucked from her belly,

and I realize too late

               that fish sprout in place of teeth

               not pearl, but rubber

               adrift in her gums

 

I wonder

If I bit open her throat

               steered this knife over thin flesh

               made it praise me as I drew

               wonders of two slopes

                                haunted by milk

--what would tumble from her?

 

It would be marbles, something

fragile and strong,

until her body

swamps the unit, glass

Savannah Rivas is an aspiring scholar in the field of cognitive science. Having received a bachelor's degree in linguistics, she enjoys studying language as both a machine and an art form. She currently divides her time between the fiery summer city of Albuquerque and the soft winter city of Santa Fe.

"This poem came about during a prolonged hospitalization for a chronic illness. I had been accustomed to working
with the medical faculty in an eastern wing of the hospital, becoming familiar with the professionals -- doctors and nurses in particular -- who worked in this half of the hospital. When I was briefly transferred to the
western wing, I felt within me a gurgling, a disruption, a nervousness. 'Easterners' is primarily about the fear and agony of a new terrain, both in a literal sense and a psychological one. I wrote the poem, pen in hand, chewing on the plastic body, sitting on my always-unmade bed. The lower body of the piece came quickly, though edits on the first stanza occurred over a number of weeks."