POETRY: Simone Inguanez

snapshots we weren’t shown before we arrived for us, since we cried at some point
'ritratti żgħar li ma wrewniex qabel ġejna' translated from Maltese by Albert Gatt

god’s design of the women’s exacting
– their dark eyes slot your pupils like drawers
kingdoms are wrought out of smiles if you will –
neatly packaged and freely doled out
for a pittance – you dream
of warm isles dripping dew if you will –
cast your forelegs to angle in pools
till you tire and they enter your bedroom
discreetly and you’re still submerged and they leave
you get up and go out and they enter
to brand the bedsheets you’ve rumpled ’cause here
the women’s
salam and bonjour is a sad-faced whisper you sip
crumbs of drear from their faces are caught in the aprons
frill-edged that they smooth – slowly smooth

here the rocks run aground in your ribcage
and swing at my breast and I’m dragged by the foam
in my thirst
this water your diluted eyes
that the salt has unceasingly run and I’m tired of running
– my blistering legs have fathomed this earth

the sun hadn’t woken as yet

– think awhile

Lines for your vacant eyes
'Versi għal għajnejk ċassi' translated from the Maltese by Albert Gatt


why is that – sombre man of the sea – answer me?
why the dusk in your eyes and beneath them?
and the silence – this silence that sounds with the crying of somnolent gulls
lord of the castle – answer me lord of the castle
I knocked – why did you lock the door?
let down your sweat-soaked hair
your pain is a mute contagion
let me in let me heal let me heal you
you’re an island it’s true but the waves lap my shore
– I’ve been lulled by the foam and their sigh
I’ve been lulled – having let myself go I’ve been lulled – why is that?
I dreamed you man of shadow the wells of your eyes
– sunrise in their depths
imbuing the salt in irregular pans
not the stagnance of water or mudflats
not the retch of pisswater and larvae
– this beverage that rinsed your unknowable hurt

I know not – I just feel


the sea barred me tonight it refused me
– in my moaning and gasping and trembling
the unceasing desire of the dark waves the rime
and the sails and the thunk of the anchors – the thunk of the anchors just listen
the sounds of a grave disinterred and the waiting
the fear of the opening wail the first shriek
a blistering curse
god be damned then the second the third
why leave us behind why did you? take me with you
– my love – let me go

and the flowers we picked for the burial
and the crucifix and the incense
the buttons so taut they were bursting
get down
you’ll get one in the eye
– one in the eye for you

and the wormeaten neck

and the vacant stare in your eyes – bleary bloodshot
but vacant


a little boy now
wearing shorts and a crewcut
tries to run through the rocks and then stumbles
his father’s attention’s elsewhere and then you
lord of the castle
on the island – the boat you desired’s not there
I’d let myself go if you’d come

I’ll take you myself if you want – and then leave

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