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Two poems by Lara Potgieter

adam, by eve

pitted cheek,
igneous rock
whittled even by sobriety and a blade

freed from the heaviness of breast,
supporting unbuckled breadth

nipples lying low
with the shame of redundancy

callous fingertips
on masterful hands

muscles that bunch and loosen
as the mechanisms of masculine movement
run sturdy and smooth

fissures of skin,
folds of aged wood
commanded outwards by touch,
inwards by neglect

from eve –
madonna, whore, virgin

eve, watching.



i was always in one piece
til i was 15 years old

small, so small you said
and i was

you always understood things
the opposite way

‘you see that, that’s the world’

you tried your best
to turn it around for me
but i wasn’t interested –
i cared only for what i had found:

the fine-drawn lines
round your eyes
and how they grew deeper
when i cried;

the way i shook
beneath your strength.

i was always
tearing the skin off things
and your patience
finally grew too tired to hold.

your words
now stamp their anger out
all over me
and i shrink back
in confusion, exhaustion,
my mind cracked
like an egg
on the rim of a bowl.

but i still dream of your sun-filtered curtains
fluttering across my face,
of watching their patterns on the wall . . .

i want to know something else.