portion of the artwork for Aïcha Martine Thiam's poetry

When You Let Me Come Up
Aïcha Martine Thiam

I go straight for the bookshelves (capital offense if no books
present). I need to know what kind of crazy I am dealing with—

assuming, yes, that I am dealing with precisely that. You have,
after all, befriended me. You must know that you are doomed,

and not care, and I hate to break it to you, but—I digress.
I can’t discern much about you from the Classics; your French

philosophers tell me nothing other than that we shared a Blaise Pascal
phase—don’t all pretentious teenagers, at some point? Done that,

done that, read that. The Russian Tales are inspired: but some
people make the time for anger and anger doesn’t seem like a

predilection of yours. I am rambling. A History of the Black and
Tan Club
? An illustrated Kirikou novel? Ha. You’ve caught me for a

minute. I don’t know what that says, but it says something and I am
listening. A sucker for ambiguity, I am. Genius and mundane, when

coin-tossed, often look the same. But I don’t voice that. I cast a
much less vulnerable comment over my shoulder at you, and your smile

pingpongs from your eyes to your lips and back. I’m one to talk.
I have far too many books about people dying, being dead, killing

themselves, barely surviving. I nervous laugh when asked for
recommendations. What is the last thing you read?, translated,

sounds like tell me about your deepest, most unrelenting anguish.
And though you’ve let me come up, it’ll always be too soon for


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