1. Introducing the February 2011 Readers – Miriam Gamble

Miriam Gamble is from Belfast, but recently moved to Glasgow; she works as a freelance writer and reviewer. She won an Eric Gregory award in 2007 and the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary award in 2010. Her first collection, The Squirrels Are Dead, is published by Bloodaxe.


From the Pole

List, woman: you may cling,
fattening your husband into false contentment.
I mean to have him nonetheless, an ice-
spangled specimen. I will make him bloat and leathern;
yes, woman, I will tarnish him beyond your wildest dreams.
He will have no language for me
when he returns, if he returns, to you.

You may anguish to him of desire, but,
woman, I tell you, you know nothing of such things.
I inhabit him bodily; I reach out
and I infect him like a virus. I am moribund
and tumorous, crabbing my weight
on his intellect and at the same time I do not exist.
I am sorceress and siren, you cannot take me.

Like yours, my love for him is of the body.
I nibble, and I keep bits; I have sent
many a chilled digit to my deepest stores
for summoning in times of need. The flesh
is wary of me: its pink crevices
go sapphire at my touch, it evaporates away,
and their tread fades lightly from my settlementless spine.

They leave stool, silence, a scattering of ashes.
They have barely scratched the surface, will be back
with their dog-sleighs, their inarticulate grief.
You, lady, may clutch him to you,
sue for him with all the springs in Scotland
and still you will not have my measure.
His love for me is different, difficult, too much.

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