by Scherezade Siobhan

Roberto Mangabeira Unger writes: prophecy over memory.

Hereon, give us a euphoria of ghosts.

In the kitchen, I’d watch her provoke the vestiges of empathy while he filleted a dappled mackerel.

Bay laurel, paprika, coconut. Garam masala portending the iridescence of surmai scales.

Meals & simultaneity. Two bodies budgeting for space in a room the size of one closed fist.

Their shadows hooked into wings too burdened for flight.

Mother. Father. Her sedulous austerity. His unsparing finesse.

The Fugue State—reversible amnesia.
Fugu—a type of pufferfish, consumed raw in its poisonous unpredictability.

To flee for return. In music, a gathering of voices.

His departure was an homage to a lobster harrowed out from the pot’s dribbling simmer.
Our basement; a shell midden of wine bottles, dank journals, baby clothes.

Perhaps when you dig for roots, you must knuckle stone.
Perhaps you prayed for water and were rained in salt.

Years later, my brain’s blue chemicals constructing replicas to his flocking errata.
Brazen voltage to erase these confessionals of dopamine.
To become aberrant as dust that dances when light is a synonym for inevitability.

Slowly, an etiolation by rote. Every morning the liturgy of loose-leaf tea, sprigs of lemongrass, powdered cardamom mingling with almond milk.
Every morning this willed blotting, the pills dotting my palm-lines like bloated ticks.

Sunlight tapered in the slit of lace curtains as the memory of a dying agarbatti.
The lifeless bodies of flying beetles gathered on the porch as tiny goodbye notes.

Desire’s hours are now dew, disappearance; wet wound in time and mind’s antinomy.

What to make of hands but a bowl in which you can sink the megrim and its bone-barrow?
Mettā—in a world gone deaf, I beat the drum of the deathless.

I return the eggs back to the plate as the news loops photographs of ‘abandoned cars’ outside a shattered mosque.

On skype a patient tells me his depression poured forth like an oil spill in the face of a burned cow. Its cadaver was nothing but a pile of tangled plastic.

At this closeness, hunger and absence sit similar on any tongue.

On my 7th birthday I understood how forgetting was a form of intention too.
He sent me a perfectly ribboned tin of chocolates.
I unwrapped each and buried it in the cooling shadow of the guava tree.

Their sweetness slowly fading into a soundless deep.
Their hearts still as muddy as mine.

in a world gone deaf, I beat the drum of the deathless” (Buddha)


About the Author:

Scherezade Siobhan is a psychologist, writer and a community catalyst who founded and runs The Talking Compass — a therapeutic space dedicated to providing mental counseling services and decolonizing mental health care. She is an award-winning author and poet whose work is published or forthcoming in Medium, Berfrois, Quint, Vice, HuffPost, Feministing, SPR, Jubilat, DATABLEED, Nat Brut, Winter Tangerine, Cordite among others. She is the author of “Bone Tongue” (Thought Catalog Books, 2015), “Father, Husband” (Salopress, 2016) and “The Bluest Kali” (Forthcoming, Lithic Press). Tweet at her @zaharaesque.

Cover photograph by Philipp Weissenbacher via Wikimedia Commons (cc).