Issue 32 – 2021 – Megan James

Megan James



                 everything that’s wrong

                                it happened here


all mythology taught me

                was the inevitability

                                of rape



                just like distance

                                 land                       & sky                     & sea

                                                blurring middle vastness

                                                                of each other—

                                                                                where does she end

& I begin—

                our shared lessons—                          

                                 these earthly cycles

                                                                                       it was not her fault

ancestral déjà vu

                hand of another

                                to neck-circumference

                                                wreath-like choker

                                [Unseen One]


flowers are bisexual

                                               even the loss of those flowers was a wound

                & I found taste

                                for the sharp exactness

                                                of a cunt


now                        I am older

                half of Auxo’s age exactly

                                split her through the middle

                                                only know her by half

                                                                in certain seasons

& Thallo                darling

                this is where you enter

                               buoyant as a thought



                now I want to ask you how it feels

                               to grow another


                the moment when a feeling enters the body is political

                                                                                     the fetus is a “tumour”

I started dreaming

                as she had

                                of pastel bibs

                                                & hungry clinging

having reached the same year she did

                when I flourished

                                gentle float

                                                inner chamber

started seeing signs:

                a pomegranate

                                pummelled to the pavement

                                                seeds spilling at the edges

so many dying fertile eggs

                cycles come

                                wicked red reminder

                                                another month spent          




the body tells me in a tiny voice

                scrolled up in the DNA

                                [Knowing One]


                                                       each was once dependent on a woman


my want

                a keening

                                wistful throbbing

                                                intravenous burning

skin to needle

                all of blood

                                & pain

                                              & permanence


                               in the same way that illness can rack the body

                                   baby fever is painful           all encompassing


the irony

                that as Auxo’s body overheats

                                mine grows ripe

                                              nature has so few coincidences

in my sleep

                I bore her child

                                a surrogate to my mother

                                                it had my eyes

                                                                 legs of thunder


                this thing with cycles

                                chain reaction

                                              they thrive on repetition

with all the same mistakes

                & tricky circles

                                not a single corner

                                                to stash a secret


shame blood spread

                drug infused

                                mother polluter

grief gut stutter

                vomit / piss / shitty splutter

                                & a stomach full of fractures

livid fistulas

                between us would create another

                                & the scar to prove it


I have a secret sickness      

                                         disease                   instrument of divine wrath

                blossoming in the plasma


an ugly surprise   

                               disease could be gratuitous or it could be deserved

                that I do not want for you

                                & your untouched red

                                              unblemished                         so almost pure


                                disease is the will speaking through the body

                                                                a form of self-expression





Megan James (she/her) is a queer poet. She writes on issues surrounding feminism and the female medical body, drawing on her personal experience as a sufferer of chronic autoimmune illness. Her work has been featured in The HelleboreMolly Bloom and Ache magazine, amongst others. Find her on Twitter: @MeganHJames.