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Animal Poems

HEAT Series 3 Number 8
April 2023
The Leech / You’re a sycophant, repugnant. Vile bacchant— / you suck and glut, fill like a slimy phial. No denial / of the claret in our veins. Fat phlebotomist, / yes, you were used to treat ailments—fevers, gout, / haemorrhoids, headaches, clots, bleeding wounds / and gums—you thrived, made doctors rich.
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Three Poems

HEAT Series 3 Number 14
May 2024
8) he followed me on Instagram, I followed him back / just to be kind, and he introduced himself as a physicist / building a time machine and asked if I / was interested to go back to the precolonial Tapanuli / because he had the white man’s guilt, / the Dutch person’s guilt, the coloniser’s guilt, / but also the urge / to verify if my ancestors were really man-eaters, / ‘Aren’t you at least a bit, teeny, tiny, curious?’ / he replied, ending it with a chicken leg emoji
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The literary world prefers its daytime rose, / sweet and thorny, seasonal, blown. / You open only at night, on the ledge, / stepping from your continent’s shelf / like Houdini on a tightrope, flesh tensed, / gazing in all directions at once / like Titian’s triple portrait beasts, / or your own words, pointing and warning.
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