The Judgment Tale - Poem by Valzhyna Mort
Over the growing shadows fell the dead weight of light.
With a long bark mules metered the distance and turned back.
Dust rose like columns of unpaid debt.
Spit dried before it could reach the ground.
Then the thin-barked orange trees disowned their thick-skinned fruit.
Then mosquitoes spat out bad blood into the gutters and were gone.
Fish was opened like a two-page book,
its skeleton, caught aflame like an asp,
inscribed with fire along the bone lines,
then slapped on a stone face of a plate
next to a Coca-Cola bottle as cold as hell.
In the market fruit prices jumped up so high —
the seller women turned into hawks.
With a gibbous peacock brushing by their feet,
in the woods where each leaf hides a face,
and each trunk a spine,
and each tree a crime,
where owls and angels,
a man and three women were contesting an apple.
The winner's body itself was an apple with skin chewed off.
Inside her breasts milk circled like a growling animal
locked behind two heavy nipples.
It was both day and night.
Her moon-white hand on the sun-gold fruit.
In her hair more stones than in a graveyard.
I followed the woman as she ate
hoping if not for a bite
then at least
a spit in my direction.
But she left nothing of that apple.
Not even the memory of eating it
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