antimnemonics is a love language, too
By Chimedum Ohaegbu
Content warning: domestic violence
If amnesia would only let me, I could love both of her well.
I would dance with amnesia retrograde an apocalypso,
press into her sandpaper hands my destructions and
entrust her with their destruction
as we sway by a crabapple tree
to flood ourselves with its sour-sweet scent.
She’ll untie the ribbons choking my fingers royal purple and, instead,
trail them in her hair.
Two beatings ago you ruined my rhythm. She’ll understand;
we shall scorn song, and she
will silently lift, twirl, dip me
into some Lethe glutted on my blood.
(Head wounds weep more than most.)
Amnesia anterograde, though, that’s who I’d bring home for holidays,
who’d touch my wrist beneath a table breaking
splinter by splinter
from the weight of oh so many beheaded, delicious birds.
Later, I hope, she will kiss me dizzy enough
to forget, to offer you my forever forgiveness:
how could I hate you for hitting me an hour back
when that time cannot exist in my emptying skull?
That is, if I can only look into the distant past,
I can only fathom a faraway future.
God, I’d fuck anterograde artfully
to fear neither tomorrow nor its whisper-close aunts and uncles,
would rather shiver at her caresses and care
about questions like “where do you see yourself in five years?”
than rationalize your rage, than ration peppermints
for dimming the copper taste
you’ve tattooed onto my black-and-blue tongue.
Next time, close your fists and (please) open your eyes and do not stop until I can touch and love the both of her. You owe me that much.
Chimedum Ohaegbu attends the University of British Columbia in pursuit of hummingbirds and a dual degree in English literature and creative writing. She’s Uncanny Magazine’s assistant editor and a recipient of both the full 2017 Tan Seagull Scholarship for Young Writers and a 2018 Katherine Brearley Arts Scholarship. She loves tisanes, insect facts but not insects, every single bird and magpies especially, and video game music. Her fondness of bad puns has miraculously not prevented her work from being published or forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Train: A Poetry Journal, SAD Magazine, Honey & Lime Lit, and The Capilano Review. Find her on Twitter @chimedumohaegbu or Instagram @chimedum_ohaegbu.