Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 27
Winter, 2018

New Works

Natasha Burge

Womb Abyssal

I was a twin before birth
which means I learned
to mourn before I knew
how to breathe. There has
been nothing but saltwater
since. At the shark god's
temple you pointed to the
sky noted the direct line to
the sea witnessed the
circumference and missed
the meat. I didn't
understand that eyes
accustomed to darkness
are blinded by light.
Imagine now the numb
mind of an abyssal god
receiving worship like
the heft of a distant planet.
There can be no vanity of
understanding no faith
in reception nothing but
passing nods to divinity.
I'm so afraid for you
of the way your threats
carry water like truth
of the way everything in
motion is always at the
brink of collapse. To lose
a mother who is still living
is an unkempt grief like
mourning at an empty
grave like moving backward
against the tide. I am humiliated
by my need that after all this time
I still burn like an infant star.
May we find someday that
god is all certainty that there
is an end to all this longing.

Where Gravity Collects

Damaged infant mouth thrown open in grief
we walked narrow boards of comfort to
deliver you to god. They glazed your brow
with salt and I worried the fine shell of your
skull would collapse wasted like a new egg.
My sagging tongue puddled blank coins
while these hands reached for birds
lost distant in the night.
Tell me you remember the way the sky felt
against your skin and how the tide formed
every vowel of your spine. Tell me that joy
was a furnace full of light and not meager
portions meted out in the margins. Tell me
not to be so jealous of whatever distant rib
now claims you as her own. I think maybe
you don't know the dark hollow where gravity
collects and the verdant hum of your name
falls like shadow in my throat.

Natasha Burge is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated writer living in the Arabian Gulf region where she is the writer-in-residence at the Qal'at al-Bahrain Museum. Her writing has appeared in The Smart Set, Pithead Chapel, Tinderbox, The Establishment and Jersey Devil Press, among others.