Poetry, Visual Art
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temple / humid / name

three poems about body worship, heavy atmospheres, and YOUR NAME by Erini Katopodis.
Art by Erini Katopodis.

My Body Is Not A Temple
My body is not a temple:
My body is not something for you to kneel at,
throw offerings to
Or spear down others in the name of.
It will not grant you mercy.

A king sipping bitter leaves on his throne is not my king,
His sacrifices are not my type,
His salvation is not my liking,

My body is not a temple,
It is a house made of sea: I hang pictures like I please,
And I shoot like breeze.

I let you near.
Then storm loud and heavy when you
Are no longer welcome,
When I grow tired:

And yes,

There are men I let admire from afar,
But don’t let proximity fool you, I send
Great heavy waves to chase them down on land;
There are those I love close to the sand.
There are men who cast their boats out to the sea, and every time, I
Reach out with a briny hand and grab to seize,
Hear the ship moan like please.

There is no god you pray to like the ocean,
There is no temple you kneel at like a fisherman
Might kneel to gather nets, to set things free

And when sailors say their first love is the
They mean me.

When it is wet like this-
When the atmosphere is a sweating fist,
still steaming,
sheet hung to dry,
still dripping,

When the air is some beast heavy, sleeping on my chest heavy,
breathing in its hair heavy, inescapable,
When the air is thick like this,
so thick that flies
Just walk,
Take steps on the tippy-toes of their
Black inexcusable legs,
across the molecules
Of air that have thickened to be
Walkable and I reach up heavy-

When I scratch my cheek, and draw a little blood
For the sleepiness of my talons,
I am a beast, too,
But it is so hot,
that I am
Inexcusable, and I sleep heavy, breathe heavy, bleed heavy,
So that flies walk over,
Find my face heavy,
Wet like this

It’s just that
Caught in my throat
Languishing larynx, stopped
Long long to rest,
Sticky-sweet and too big to swallow,
Eaten, without time
For your teeth to think-
Too soft to chew and still
Too shot to know,
Sticking, moaning fishbone
White & thin & sideways
Held fast with main & membrane
There in my throat
Or even
Urgent & hot & burning
Slow for lack of learning
Stopping speech & song

Stuck there in my throat,
Shocking as the day it came,
Your name.


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