Poetry of Maria Theuma
Illustrations by Warren Bartolo
This Doesn’t Bode Well for Us
Travelling into the past
I examine the shapes I’ve shifted into
since the day I was born
Once a song
Another time a tooth
Quite often the shadow of a lover
Also a fruit tree
My flesh lemons
Sweet by chance or by miracle
I’ve been asked
How does it feel to have your body gone?
Do you like it?
But ohmygod does it feel right
Look at me
All night I lie on the beach and eat sand
I refuse to drown with the lovesick at sea
And I’m going to have to stay awake
You are not here
But I still exist through you
Not as myself
Something of me is a blind spot
Something of you is a lie
What was I
When you were real and rocked me to sleep?
I’d say my name to you
I’d say it softly
The way you liked it
Tell me how to feel and I might feel it
I (who never wished to feel)
I’m feeling and I’m grieving
I don’t have to be anything ever again
I’ve claimed you mine in every possible language
There’s nothing left to see
Walking out of this life, I think about you and stop in my tracks to carve your story in stone. I lean against it for a while, like an ancient wind. You make my death feel the size of itself. For that, I love you, at the end of my only life.
But what can I even say to you? Death feels like being in a place far beyond the limits designated by God (or was it by you, that one time at dusk, when I watched you fix your gaze on a distant point somewhere along the confines of a pink sea, when you begged me to write its coordinates in the small of your back?). Death is what missing you feels like.
Maria Theuma is a PhD student within the Department of English at the University of Malta. She likes drinking Bloody Marys, watching figure skating and reading online forum threads about JonBenét Ramsey.
Warren Bartolo is a Classics undergraduate student and a freelance illustrator. He has recently illustrated a proverbial book by the name of Vox Depicta.