on the swallow, and her belly, Irum

slowly and suddenly, your body began to swallow you, and we learned again to change.

pluto planet transformation 

sailor soldier of death and scorpio 

lies immortal at the gates. if you were persephone, 

I would be ceres

just to spend one season with the bulls

turns out I’m not allowed to get a navel piercing. the piercer at new tribe asked me to take off my shirt and take a seat on the bench. in the mirror I watched my stomach fold in two and swallow my belly button. “it won’t heal pressed against your skin like that.” even our wounds need to breathe.

you wash up against stones and the shore

swears she remembers your waters from some distant century

when you lost your name we went searching for ocean everyday

weightless in the tide, as arbitrary

this morning I got high and watched the sun lift itself up behind the water to peel away from the horizon. I love to skip breakfast. I think about how in a world of men rushing to scar the geological record, some of us wake everyday hoping to become smaller, more forgettable. I book a flight to new york the same evening.

maybe the night is a man unencumbered

and the stars are as ancient as we are

if you are blade gutting belly then may a belly

be all in you that is willing

and what is gutting but a life’s harvest?

I say I’m writing about bellies and dallas sends me a reading with a medieval christian take on hell and hyenas. “for Christian theologians, damnation consisted of a sort of eternal swallowing.”1 b attaches a book on tricksters, one of whom burns his anus and accidentally snacks on the fatty meat of his own large intestine.2 I think we might have to ask the surgeon what he did with yours.

you’re so close to me again

your eyes and something deep in my belly is stirring

your breath pleads pleasure like marble carving lilt at aphrodite’s hip

outside the french bakery on february’s rendition of st. clair west I light a cigarette for the warmth and a burnt herbiness mingles with the scent of butter and espresso. I’m taking a deep breath in when you come sauntering down the street, warm and bright and toothy-grinning like it’s a beautiful day (it’s freaking cold). when you reach me at the bike rack, you slide your left arm around my waist and pull me in close to say hello. a shiver runs down my spine and settles between my legs. last night I read that anxiety and excitement are the same feeling. your eyes are always hungry and I’m learning that I’m obsessed with being swallowed. when you ask about food I lie and say I’ve already eaten. 

some unsettling rip in womb you rise from sea like night

like mother in storm

like witch at full moon

you don’t think pregnancy would work out for you. I got tattoos on my midriff across from where your ileostomy is on yours. I picture how our bellies might look, layered on top of one another. it’s kind of gross how we used to live inside the same womb, and also super freaking cool. if you didn’t know how pregnancy worked, and all you found was one of those x-rays of a pregnant woman, would you think she swallowed her child whole?

nasty belly icky big and bloating like scar across lune

you take your claws to a home that bore me

does the bigness remind you?

does the wounding make it before? again yours

I visit home for a night and ammi is looking into weight loss pills again. people on twitter are wondering why they did the special k diet with their mums growing up. I don’t think you did that. you spent dollars, hours, tears over drugstores and diet websites, and I thought your body was spinning out of control, and aapi was at the hospital all of the time, and I love cadbury milk chocolate, and I still hear abbu repeating “jaan hai tho jahaan hai.” time was stuck and passing passing passing. 

in the gut of the hyena hellmouth at the gates jaw hanging and me the sinner

you adorn your chest hair carving along sternum

to fall into your center the earth

ends where your hips do

the spring equinox was two weeks ago but it’s been snowing all morning anyway. I can’t quite place it, but every moment seems slightly out of sync with the next one. I’m high all of the time. maybe that’s part of it. at least the sun peeks out from time to time. I vow to do more of those ten minute morning meditations about activating your fire energy. I like when they tell you to put your hands over your belly.


Hood, Lina Wu

Hood is an exploration of shifting interiorities via mechanical pencil on heavy vellum. The competing visual languages of biological diagrams, print ephemera tracings, and other collaged pieces are folded together in the knight’s helmet. This reflective suit of armour serves as a casing for ecosystems of thought teeming beneath the surface. Herein lies a soft and malleable site of transformation hidden by the rigid shell. Scraps of text are sourced from Perfume Genius and Fiona Apple song lyrics, original writing, found poetry, as well as portions of Irum’s text, “on the swallow, and her belly.”

How many passing rocks harbour secret ecologies underneath?

What delineates inside and outside?

What separates you and I?