I have no body. I know there is meat somewhere small oceans of bloods so much more than one coursing over coral bone a long thin skin barely holding The stink of rotting floats in the dark like oil on water spoiling everything. Sometimes I worry the carrion smell is not mine. Memories bloom here like corpse flowers, fragrant on the tongue, startling colour. I have a body again, thick hair, hard muscle, and a longing pulsing through it as I watch you dance on the beach, tempting waves, tempting gods, tempting me. Your features ripple, robbed by time, but I can still taste the salt crystals on your skin, the give in your lips. I have been formless so long I dread this may be no more than a dream. I am spread all over this valley, a million walls, a million thoughts like: did you know a blue whale is so large a man can swim in its veins? imagine the immensity of a beast like that, I feel you swimming in my veins more real than any body I had. I recall the maize country, fields unrolling to the horizon & our feet brown and dusty, ears of corn above us like sheltering hands, our bodies contorted together, busy inventing a whole new language of need, never coming to the end of it, always finding another word for us. Nothing can take this away. Sweet Theseus, I fucked you in my father’s crops, I reaped the seeds planted in your bloods. I was a young god, untouchable until you touched me, then I was un done. I sang a song of escape but you wouldn’t hear a note said your family was the jealous type, their love a deadly maze. I said mine would lead you free, but you made a liar of me. Theseus what was it about your sister’s bed you found so sweet? how often did you flee your father’s touch in her arms? did you make the same words as us or was this some older, darker tongue? I wonder if you even know where I am now, or how Ariadne found me after you left for work, a fever in her bloods, calling me monster, ugly stud ready to pasture. It wasn’t until she cut my skin I saw how deep you’d gone in, wasn’t until I was spilling into earth, into cotton and wood, I could see my blood was more than mine: my mother’s, my father’s, & yours, an ocean comprised of many rivers. This is what you need to know: even if one is blackened with oil, you are more than that poison. I must confess I didn’t die easy. She underestimated the strength it takes to kill a bull. She roped my butchered body, dragged it into fields grateful for the gift of my waters, my steaming flesh. The gods watched on with glee as I rose, half-dead, half-beast tearing away her tired yoke. I’m afraid to say I proved Ariadne right with animal screams, the way I kicked in her head. We lay together in the end, she and I, beloved and dying, bodies contorted, busy inventing a new way to grieve. A million walls, a million thoughts took root in leaf and branch and stone, I remember now. I wonder if you’ll ever find us deep in this maize. Look, sweet boy, beneath your bed, I left a clue there, a seed, like so many in this valley, a long and winding thread of flowers that will bloom if you come searching, like sheltering hands over brown boys naked in the dust, men in love. Be careful if you come, Theseus. Here lie monsters.
Omar Sakr is an Arab Australian poet. His poetry has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in Contemporary Australian Poetry, Strange Horizons, Meanjin, Overland, and Mascara Literary Review, among others. He placed runner up in the Judith Wright Poetry Prize and his debut collection, These Wild Houses, is forthcoming from Cordite Books (2017).