after ‘Milky Bay’ by Yuichiro Tamura
everyone loves a strong body. how i commit you to the crime of memory. let me disassemble you in my head, examine each part in detail: the curvature of your arm, musculature of thigh; the depths of your mariner’s eye.
everyone loves a strong memory. how in my head i can take you apart and put you back together again. i imagine your body asunder, like billiard balls after the first strike, each piece sinking faraway. i imagine your body in fragments, caked in sediment, resting by an unnamed shore, rocking against each current. how I would dive into that sea, again and again, just to make you whole. how i would patch every hole of your body with mine.
everyone loves a body of memory. in my head the christmas tree we bought together still stands, watching over us from the dim corner of the room like a guardian angel, the radio stuck on the same ballad. i imagine you and your warm body sitting in the corner, picking up an old photograph and putting it right to your eye, as though there was something there you had not already seen the past twenty times. i tell you i am watching you – that’s but a white lie, for my eyes are trained only onto your biceps, and my hands, resting on the pool table, jittery and eager, still waiting for you to take your turn. there is static on the radio.
everyone loves a body. how a body is built fascinates me. picture this – your arm in isolation, floating in the sea. you are alive but hurting; you can reach and pick it up. the memory is the same. how it comes apart so easily. how you can’t tell between lie and fragmented truth. come, can you piece us back together again? all i remember is your body, the muscle; the photographs scattered about the seamen’s club, which change every time i revisit the place in my head. it’s usually of the same old seafarers, but from time to time, it’s just the two of us. okay, fine. i’m sorry. i must confess that i no longer remember if we were playing pool or snooker or even what year it was but what i do remember was that we were playing something and how i thought back then that was enough: your arm, cue stick, impact, strike, sink, my arm, leaning, restless, jittery, static, sink, radio stuck, same ballad, photograph, love, pick, strike, impact, my body, your body – the sea waiting outside.
everyone loves a memory. forgive me. i have made all this up.
Winning Piece submitted for the Signature Art Prize Poetry Competition, 2019. Depicted: live reading of the poem at the exhibit itself.