Marcelle Olivier

 

groundwater

i will never be as innocent
as i was then. as ripe
as this root, as sound

as a lock of mistletoe to its tree.
i will never be as thirsty.
i will never again be as near

to gods.

when i walk back into my
phantasies, shoes shed,
my palms sweetly pleased

with the stain of groundwater
shorn away from your body;

when i slip into the fatty
memory of it, the two of me;
when i count the many

days i have lost at your ream,
courting the threads
like a wet, blossoming moth,

my world shrinks. the drought
of an obstructive moon

flourishing in my triad
lights at the dividends of bones
better left behind.

to gods

i offered my youth. those unmarked
moments of lust stargazers refuse
to divulge, and the chance to lie

with my arm across your back,
the two of us shackled together
by the melancholy of hope.

 

 

 

 

marcelle olivier is a poet and archaeologist. Her translations of contemporary South African poetry appear in the recent edited collection In a burning sea (Protea, 2015), and you can read more of her writing in, amongst others, Oxford Poetry, New Contrast, Carapace, and The Mays.

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