‘Omens of M’- Ellie Walsh (from Issue 1)

Cocked fist, rosebud. The blade, made for thatch, removes it easily
don’t wash your face at night, you’ll marry an old man
Blood drips like a metronome. I flick the head a safe distance
chew and spit a dry chrysalis to stop the pain
and there are eyes in the back of its head, like M
fish in your dreams will bring you gold
The underbelly is orange, so pretty I hardly want to skin it
don’t sweep the house after sunset
It squirms once more; a whip-stroke in the sand
don’t enter the kitchen while bleeding, you’ll rot the food
Poison from the wet stem of its throat smells like a delicacy–
don’t borrow salt, a salt debt is bad luck
I could feel guilty. While M struggles to find purpose
a crow kaa-taaing on your roof invites new guests
crouched in the doorway for warmth without smoke
whistling at night invites the devil
there seems so much of it in a dead cobra
a dog howling on your doorstep invites death
posing in the clay and the dust, waiting to rebel
are you listening to me, chori?
waiting to prove something of its life
don’t bring snakeskin into the house, however pretty the underbelly
waiting to dance as if watched by nothing but its own eyes.

Ellie works as a Contributing Editorial Associate at Coldnoon Travel Poetics Journal where she runs a column focused on poetry from South Asia. She attended Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia where she studied English, and she later completed her MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University in the UK. She is now in Nepal on PhD research where she studies post-revolution feminist poetry from the Terai – a place where she draws much inspiration for her own writing. The Nepalese villagers teach her how to harvest rice and often tell her to lighten up.

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