Gaia Holmes’s ‘Carne’

Gaia Holmes

The wheels screech a death rattle
on the Spanish road.
There are gaudy billboards
wedged into the mountains:
matadors hold red flags
like open wounds,
the corporeal sunset
drips over the crusty horizon
and poppies are scabs
on the dry hard shoulder.
Remember this without blood.
Forget the ice packed vows,
the nun-lipped silence,
the long prison sentence
of the tongue,
the captivity of lips
and fingertips,
the deep-frozen laughter.
In the back seat my head hums
with the drone of petrol.
A bag full of meat
reeks and squelches at my feet
and I slip into a rhythmic nightmare
where the sharp eyed waitress
points to her ribs
and says, “Carne, carne!!”
where the swarthy men
eye my thighs for a stew,
where you find bones
in my suitcase.
from Dr James Graham’s Celestial Bed (Comma Press, 2006)

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