He said...


Emily Warner (she/her)

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Image by Steven Zucker

By Emily Warner

Aristotle said ‘Poetry is the art of man
of genius,
or of one having a touch of madness’
So much implied between nine letters of a name, squeezed
somewhere after the ‘I’, usurping the ‘she’
jostling for space among the ‘man’. The ‘he’.
Where does that leave me?
I skirt the dark bars of quotation marks, dancing
along the dashed lines of my femininity on the
outskirts of heteronormativity.
I thought insanity was reserved for the woman
But only when insanity means charred baby teeth and
an empty bedframe, creaking with chastity.
Madness and man is alliteration after all, and
nobody is going to lock them in a jewellery box, bedecked in
sly diamonds and rumpled drapery because
they are poets.
Poets, with ‘a touch of madness’ - perhaps,
the handprint of his wife as she
presses her fingers to the yellow wallpaper.
Smearing the condensation of uneducation
into his boxes, columns, rows of verse
Failing to rehearse how to ‘smile for the picture’
And not stain her pretty skin with writer’s ink.
When God whispered into the eggshell curve of Adam’s ear
I’m holding onto your rib
Eve gripped the phallic bars of her crib
and cried, ‘nobody is listening to me’
but they rewrote her birth anyway,
her blood became rose petals, and the constellations
spelled out companion,
Evolution, a conductor, brandished his baton,
whispered life into to the embryon and conceived
a clock
whose hands strangle time, trapping ‘her’
between tick and tock.
Between ‘him’ and Aristotle’s cock.