7. 21. 2021

“what happens to the dead here”

Evelyna Ekoko-Kay

what happens to the dead here

what happens to the dead here?
where will we keep them when the water rises?

are you going to be here tomorrow?
I am not ready yet. I keep expecting to be ready

on my birthday everybody bought me mr noodles
I will eat every pack except the last. it could outlive us all

the IPCC says we have 10 years left. others have said 18 months.
I was afraid at first, but it’s a comfort, knowing that we’ll all be dying together

I make a list of all the good things: hair, skin, intentions, bones,
women, effort, choices, dog, behaviour, word, pussy, policy, teeth

this morning in australia a herd of wild horses died from heat exhaustion
their bodies were found, warm as blood, beside a dried-up hole of water

I have to shower every fucking day until I die
I choose to like the water cycle. the smell of my conditioner

if I let you hold me, would you let us both be still?
no tongue, no teeth: nothing wanted, nothing asked. my skull below your chin

do you remember who leaned first into the other? does it matter?
when we kiss you like to stand on higher ground, tilt my jaw upward

there is no space left to put things. I am careful not to brush
against the inside of myself too much. breathe shallow, soft

the dripping heart of me is filtering through isinglass
why is the fining of things always through another’s flesh?

when I want to draw a mouth I draw an eye instead
I hope you never find this

where will they send us when the water rises?
I want to wait right here


(after billy-ray belcourt)

the fire truck is always fastest to arrive
all its throats wide open to the battered world

we got a don’t talk to cops code. we got glass behind our eyes
can you forgive us? this is not our world

in 1989 my mum arrived to pearson and a white man shot the engineers
is this canada then? she asked. is this the world?

the bottle shatters 20 feet. pinot noir is light in colour. not like blood at all.
I call the cops. they never come. what have I done? can you forgive me for the world?

I was harder once. I have been softening like butter on the countertop
these days I think that almost everyone is good. how awful for us: good, here, in this world!

oh god, you say. we will live to see the end of everything
the rich are already building cars to take them to the next world

I take my b12 every morning. pluck my nipple hairs on alternating mondays
I am trying to behave as though I have to live. as though I am the world.

the ambulance is always last to come. the paramedics laugh:
you aren’t really dying, they tell yosif. this wound is not a world

my name is firstborn. evelyna: little piece of bone.
I’ll spend this whole life trying to slip it from the grey tongue of the world

Evelyna Ekoko-Kay is a queer, Black-mixed activist and poet from Hamilton, Ontario. She recently completed her MFA in poetry at the University of Guelph. Her writing has been featured in The Puritan, Book*hug’s Write Across Canada: An Anthology of Emerging Writers, tenderness lit, Voicemail Poems, Pineapples Against Patriarchy, The Undergraduate Review, and Collective Reflections. She has successfully cyberbullied several local politicians, and one university principal.