portion of the artwork for Aïcha Martine Thiam's poetry

Retrospect Talk
Aïcha Martine Thiam

I’ve been thinking about your ear.
I’ve been thinking about all the emails
I never answered/sent. I shape tents with

my knees. When they straighten out, I
make like the drifting bedcovers are pearls
of warm snow. After all my hemhawing, I concede

I may miss your season (winter) again. It’s a
paranoia of mine that others can hear my
music. Remember? That thing about conserving

souls inside the songs we listen to?
I would never let a person come that close
again, with unsteady hands to boot.

It’s presumption—I’m carrying waterbowls
with buttery palms. Everything I hold
shatters and breaks. And you: have long since

wholesale-d said soul to the first sucker
who came waltzing your way. I am setting
the scene so that you know; because you need

to know, how jarring, how fearful, how terrible
full circles are when you least
expect them. I get it, I get it, remember.

Do you, remember? I was perched on a table
corner, ready as always, to bolt. You,
pontificating: think of life and people

as a too-scalding bath. Even if you don’t
take in all the way, it’s worth it to ease
in, take your time
. What did you ever know?

When I feel I hate you most, that I could almost
flood the earth you walk on, I think about your ear,
where you kept your soul. In my mind, I finger that

forearm scar, the one you got from shielding
your little brother when you both nearly died
in that car accident. It reminds me:


you, on occasion,

have a screaming heart


I am much less sad

about you.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 56 | Fall/Winter 2020