Poetry: These Are the Witness Marks by Moira J.

Moira J. has written a visceral love poem with “THESE ARE THE WITNESS MARKS”—full of bodytalk and imagery that burrows under your skin, makes your back itch. Notice the goosebumps, the old salt, the zodiac mouth, but also the lover and the nervous ticking we all have heard when waiting in our own “shy bedroom.” Moira has made for us a poem with surprising balance between powerful bodies, and tender desire.



on the body of my loveroutlines 
and discolorations 
where ghost-limbs 
and phantom-talks 
might’ve inhabited, 
but now have been exiled  
into our bathtub where she 
floats, undisturbed. Goosebumps
occupy her thighs like raised
fists through
worn-sweaterseven when 
I dry her skin,   
she still tastes of  
marzipan and old salt.
And of course, fear still resides 
in my ribcage like fettered rabbits
before the snare snaps closed,  
of how the immensity of her  
zodiac mouth entraps my
existence.              Her loud body
ticks like grandfathered gears, 
or a bomb,  
in our shy bedroom.  
The storm of her awaits 
the window                          to be
slammed open, swallowing
cumulus bodies and spitting them  
onto our sheets: new and old  
ponds that could not come 
from a mouth like mine.



Moira J.

moira j. is a writer of Dził Łigai Si'an N'dee descent. They were the winner of the 2018 Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize and were Frontier Poetry’s 2019 Frontier New Voices Fellow. They are published/forthcoming in The Shallow EndsPRISM International, and Black Warrior Review. They currently live with their partner in the occupied Massachusett homelands of Nutohkemminnit (Greater Boston, Massachusetts). Their debut poetry collection, “Bury Me in Thunder” (January 29, 2020) is out now with Sundress Publications. You can find more of their work at www.moiraj.com, and on Twitter @mxmoiraj.

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