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Anna Walsh

Surface Tension or, She Has Built A World For You to Live In


             A horse


dislocated    and true


an abstraction in

the eyes

of the one selling

and buying it. Sleek like

metal like


broken in now but not malleable.


If you were trying to make me feel small you did it


+ it’s such a relief not

to be tall for once,

to be governed by something

uninterested in me by

nature of its design.


A one long fish, pink oily and albumen nipples

an ocean churning in a pearl and

my insides blurring – eyes

a wet gel and nerves

all for pleasure. This is the world

and it has been made for you to live in, you,

you lashed fish, you

beautiful slip

If you would let me reach out and touch         the tip


What life could look like if we let it!


Instead, wild and relatable claims like


the body has become the site to know the world

maximalism cannot be contained

to lie flat on the ground just rubbing dirt is

very sexy


         And the locket, she

puts me in the mind

of secrets, of

ballistic worlds for teenage girls (one experience however damaged

I would never undo because of the secrets and lies the

caustic breakage, the feathers pink in the ears)


and the mythic status of what can happen in a country, wickedly I

came out wrong

slipped like grease towards badness

skidded in wanting

to go deeper underground.

Behaving in a way that really

looked like begging someone to hit me over the head.


The difference between asking and begging for it,

I have known only via the tempers

and willingness of a warm sometimes wicked body.



This tall and beautiful

girl-thing, riding on a metal horse, she knows where

the secrets are buried

and how the ones who keep them got there.


I am learning how to write

and speak

(+ pronouncing my t’s)

and the flamed blonde head of a babe tends the heat of my life. She lies down low on the ground with me and gives me flowers, she is telling me she is a great pink god and we must all be quiet for now.


Call me, don’t call me: the line is static! The world is going to make me insane!



 Something should be said too about weeping, about bleeding

(not essential; consequential)

the slurp and the sick, bumping valleys glooping red

noses, it takes so much exertion

to lay  something  to  rest. The work

the heavy          sludge        drown    work, the

tight jerk to






pull internal pursestrings

the control you must learn to survive +

the unrelentingness of going on,


going     on cleaning/spitting/shining/fucking/cleaning/boiling/cleaning/cleaning/making

safe a domicile from scraps




after all that, then, the

daily havoc of choice, of choosing

to decide then cutting to prepare

then cooking to plant then

listening to listen then listening

to say, to touch then say, repeat then after, ‘I will use the hooves

and the fat to make a centrepiece,

and I will put you in it.’


Sneaking a mirror

to check the surface for lines,

for evidence + proof + future vision:

to know what I should do when

the time comes. But one thing I

know now, and by god I tell you,



my work will never be done.

You cannot expect people to keep living the way they do.



About the Author
About the Response Series

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