Cinnamon salt

I sat in pulsing silence

a drip of sweat over sunscreened cheek

of just-before-1pm

 

The temple was red

and “mom, it smells like old indian people”

came floating through the open door

 

Incense went stick upon stick

from an endless donation box to Confucius

and other gods

 

I didn’t know

but I did remove my shoes;

flat leather plates with thinning straps

 

Sitting, exhausted

on a tiled step of tourist history

 

I could tell, after ten minutes

another bunch of americans had gathered near

“oh look shhhh! she’s praying!”

 

Maybe I was

maybe the ignorant tourist was praying

in an ancient temple devoted to gods and figures of eternal wisdom and power

she didn’t know or understand

 

Still I breathed in the perfume dust,

knowing there’s always

the beach

 

From kneeling to swimming

it’s a 4km pilgrimage from here

so the sign says

 

I’ll go now

I’ll wash away the sweat and sins

by sea

Today at School

Today at school

nobody learnt anything

the teachers were stuck to their desks

the students were accidentally put on silent

we sat in a circle in a classroom

I felt my claws extending and retracting

my words, too

extending and retracting

and my eyes were stuck on the three girls opposite

each retrieving a phone from a pocket

glancing, tapping

putting it down

glancing, tapping

putting it down

extending and retracting

repeat steps 1-3, several times, until the hour is over

and you’ve successfully attended a tutorial

the clock strikes eleven

silently

then everyone leaves

just to step out until 10 past

and then, entering into the next room

for the same scene again:

“hi everyone, did you all have a good weekend?”

“what did you enjoy from the lectures this week?”

ok, let me see.

Tuesday.

the doddering American with his slow, yellow-lettered slides and these are the statistics of my country, the United States, and here you can see FOURTY-five, surprise surprise, FOURTY-five percent of the population denomination legalisation industrialisation

and at this point the phones got pulled out again

and again

sky blue bubbles dotting the theatre

and no-one was listening of course,
but nothing was being said

…we’re caught in our own ellipses

waiting for someone else to speak

Small Talk

she’s walking to class

holding books and a shiny calculator

her polite hair and polite mouth

huge bulging breasts

the clouds block the sun momentarily

her textbook is upside-down in an awkward

way so you see only the letters ‘la’

your eyes flicker upwards to hers

“hey! how are you?”

“yes, good- you?”

“yeah good thanks!”

thick black hair

black hair tucked behind hot ears

reaching down, down buttons being undone ripping down, down

“what subjects are you doing this term?”

“I’m doing –“

fucking

fucking hard on the floor

on the cold, hard floor

fucking in cold sweat on the cold, hard floor

her leg over yours tighter and tighter

“lit, finance, chem, creative writing and”

“oh cool. I’m doing finance too – hahha uah sorry”

bumps into you accidentally, hair stuck between your arm and shoulder

sliding her tongue up your

whispering, hot, biting, tearing

she clutches your hands and

she breaks your bones and

she

“hey um, how was your weekend?”