Deep Sea Pi
By Maryam Gowralli
This mathematical constant, we tried to cut the ocean to see how we
could remain in the presence and give it a name. A flavour neither
belonging to the First World or the Third, or the hippy versions of
transatlantic or transpacific crumbs.
Could we measure you into spheres?
We twirl fluids like a pretzel. Postulating the time you belonged to us,
creating borders to imply an identity with showers of wanderlust.
Do we know what it feels like to be a decimal? Portraying a specific
principle to exist?
You spit stories and epistemologies that can’t be tamed while we try overlapping them like papier-mâché: global inquiry, capital, localism,
some neoimperialistic act, drowned bodies and mercantilisms. Say
here, we want you thick with habitat, swelling the expanse of
Perhaps then we can count the sounds of your diaphragmatic
Jostling widths of memory.
Flying Dutchman, or a WWII Encounter in
By Maryam Gowralli
At the waist. Viewing the world prone-wise
he never expected to find her. Each hour
Wasted by clinking trills in the night, these
Radical booms. Shaking the body with memories of
Something too far gone. Each hour becomes a door
to a lucid figment of Van Hoebeek, as if to say
despite the humid, he had gotten thinner.
He views her waist, while she bends his skull
like gum from a rubber tree. He wants to kiss his
Mannlicher by the Hair. So he can feel lungs crushed
to his body. Opening, he “never expected to find her
here.” Beautiful & non-processed. Ellipses. All
interest in music is lost. Words don’t seem to
scrape away Earwax the way they used to.
This Language is off key—smelling. The world has more
ontologies to offer than monophthongs. Wandering
Out of sight. Mercy comes by tying his nonsense
to the semantics of bleeding. Covered in
ancient vultures, she splits open his jaws
to wrap bindings around each tooth,
filling his mouth with lychee’s until
his eyes close shut. He continues to
Love the doctor blind. She is the keeper of
some transcendental moon-language. Today,
waterfall means staying hidden. Commanded
by Hypothermia, he lusts to move. But his body
Is sailing from one room to
Another. While he sees his men
Blown by sounds of jungle crickets,
fricatives & bombs. Peripatetic
by the starlight, a woman like a
nation that would neither end
Nor begin. Wondering if he misses the
Boundaries of his helmet. She breaks his finger
nails. And uses them as pincers. Mouth-wide
means the winds no longer reek of the dead.
Just silence. Pure & clean. Doing as
Commanded & because he discerned
that keeping open must mean, some
form of capitulating. It originated. A
Universal human rumble. Shaking the
bloodied sockets of his now rotten teeth. She
pulls—each tooth and swallows them
into the Earth. For every hour, a tusk is
shimmied into its place. For every half, an octopi
beak. And for every year, baleen. He awakens to
the sounds of a new language. While she sings
medicine reeds, subduing the aches of rotten teeth.
when dismantling skin
By Maryam Gowralli
Once I was told of a wilderness in my mind,
between the bee hives in Water Valley
and my mother’s skin tags.
Once I saw a moose folding its antlers
a dusk caravan in the interior.
This is how one hides behind a throat
to change their skin.
Unwanted blood clots a sign of a newly presented self—
too involved in the national condition.
I see myself an ungulate
an odd-toe jutting out
the way my songs speak of a continental shelf
too far to swim to but so close
to a grave.
Once I rolled my ink like a ballpoint pen
writing a deftly-shaped body: a tick too nosy
about souls written on steelpans. A rhino
too blinded, faithfully imbibing
scents of green tea in the morning.
Then there are days
a cosmopolitan of translation
is all I am.
Maryam Gowralli draws inspiration from her Trinidadian-Indian and Indonesian heritage. Her debut poetry collection, Citizenship in Water is forthcoming with That Painted Horse Press (2021). She is currently the Creative Nonfiction Editor for filling Station and is pursing an MA in English Literature at the University of Calgary. You can find her works at PRISM International, The Selkie, untethered Magazine, The Caribbean Writer and other journals. Twitter: @MaryamGalli