Jazmine Linklater

Victory (two ways)


See how here at the edge of the object
it isn't the end but the seam where you join
face on, lips pursing a kiss's round O
& blowing hot torrents of air so lung's gale
carries your sea-salt (from tongue,
cheek walls, roof) it flies, dances, flecks
the prow, the hip points, thigh & breast
pressing her garments against her
(chiton, tunic) & damp billows show
Sappho’s thin fire racing below skin,
violets stream out behind her
from fabric's dark folds (cloak, himation)
sews sails & your wind layers feathers
(not as nature or art) & her bellow moves up
to meet yours (she's not trembling).


Some objects are objects & other, their edges
ends (walls without openings). The seam
here's not fluid. Sing salt spray she starts
to dissolve, moulded garments temporarily glued
(as paper, as tape). You're working on memory,
can't stir this. She's hung & you're punctured,
deflating. What's growing swells elsewhere
& lives (but not here) - this strength's origami:
a trick, a sigh, admission. (How to both be
& not be: what you are / what you are not.)
She's undressed & scarpered (cloak, himation
discarded, bunched) & you are left
longing. Thin fire that raced under skin
only smoulders, your waiting layering
ineffectual wings: silent (you're trembling).

Persistent Bodies

Consider the freeze laking over
ice thin. With your tiny hammer
you tap: pulse a travelling vista
of veins under the surface

You scoop out its muscle thick cream
Massage out crystals to smooth

With your thumb, you knead in the dip
of the torso & the embryo curls round your nail

Held close to your face
the blow that breathes on your petals
to other parts of the world tell the time
When the ones that would not leave have stayed

Jazmine Linklater has published the pamphlets Toward Passion According (Zarf, 2017) and Découper, Coller (Dock Road Press, 2018). She works for T-Junction International Poetry Festival and Carcanet Press, and co-organises No Matter, a feminist reading & performance series in Manchester. She is currently studying for an MA in Modern & Contemporary Literature, and in 2018-19 is a Poetry London mentee.