Return To Map

Letters to the Human Body

By: Natalie Linh Bolderstone & Inua Ellams

About The Poem

PLEASE NOTE: This poem contains references that may not be suitable for every reader including sexual references, swear words or other sensitive material. Reader discretion is advised. All poems have been published as they were submitted.

The Poem

Letters to the human body


I know how long it has been / since you touched wild grass / to guide its mutation to goodness / I know how long it has been / since you were spotlit in a room / us gathered in the light of you / while the city raged outside / Everything else blurs everything else / The headlines are ravenous crows chewing up the naked morning air /

We call to each other / our voices hollow and heavy / straining to land with our love intact / We fill the spaces between us / with jars of ginger root / black pepper / chilli oil / anything that lines the chest / with heat /

We figure out the groove of the news / how best to push back its chunky gears / to work the shrill sky in our bellies to brave laughter / You master the charge / cackling into uncertainty’s face /

until news comes with you in its teeth / At night the wind leans against the dark limbs of trees / The virus snarls in the undergrowth / shows us its second throat /


Tell me again / of each fever-pink morning / how you stayed in bed / with a bruise on your cheek / like a promise retreating / how you searched your galleries of valves and nerve-fires / for a way to resist /

Tell me again / how you threw sand over your prayers / refused to kneel on tainted ground / how the psalms are stone melodies now / though heaven is a thousand chandeliers / each candle flicker a voice / uncaged /

Body / I have dreamed of opening your chest / and finding shrink-wrapped sculptures / immune to fang and foul breath / Each hour / a new confession / traced in dust / I don’t think I can work anymore / the star charts all emptied out / constellations blur / like deadlines /

Body / retrieve your animal essence / Let the air uncurdle / as it enters you /

Return To Map

Do you have poem you would like to feature? Submit it here