Two poems by Francine Simon

It is The JRB’s pleasure to publish, for the first time, two new poems by Francine Simon.

~ ~ ~

Second Skin

You are not good
enough if I cannot
take you
into my mouth

I am a man
who likes teeth
their brittle white
core sucking sounds

they call me Naga*
a bright green
light leads you to me
the rain so slightly wet

I charm fortune
from you with ant
tics and snow white feet
here they are inv_s _ble

I could be satisfied
by you if I swallowed
you whole and
fat chicken in

a baby’s mouth
I have hands but no nails

what would be the point?

*Naga [Nāga]: from Sanskrit; deity or entity in Hinduism and Buddhism; takes form of snake, specifically king cobra.



I lie on my back           Knees up
Hair strewn           Hands join under my breasts
Breathing even and thick
My dot starts to change colour
Beaded fingers           Cross disappearing
I am clear with words

Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.


My hair begins to form plaits that move
Nipples shrink           Craving semen
Blood drips up to my clit           Feet turn back
I let my legs open
Another voice speaks with my mouth

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and the Holy Spirit.
As it was at the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.


Iron nails cannot hold me back
nor mustard seed scattered to my grave
nor five parts cow           You have burnt my body
carried me out the side door           You let them break my knees
but I will always find my way back to my God

*Churel: an avenging female demon spirit/ shape-shifter that targets men.

Previously unpublished, © Francine Simon

Francine Simon’s debut volume, Thungachi, was published earlier this year (uHlanga Press). Born in Durban, she is currently a PhD candidate in English at Stellenbosch University.

Image: George Tsapakis/Unsplash

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