Into the Woods

Missionary Position by Rohini Soni

I remember your faces very well
How could I ever really forget
the crosses, the Bibles and how
we were forced to sing praises
to the foreign god who promised
brighter futures
for darker favours now?
Bended knees before your profaned altars
where you bent us over and profaned our sacred places.
Incense rising before the corpus mounted high above;
my flesh ripped and torn before the golden icon,
my young body mounted by “holy ones”
seeking the pleasures of god
in my womb.
This is the missionary position.
My hymen, your sacrament.
All praise the body and blood of the virgin.

The Wizard and I by Sarah E Melville

the wizard and I
went out to the back yard
and we lit our torches
(the neighbours in the front
like to
sic their dogs on us
when we do this)

the wizard and I
tied the torches to the fence
posts & watched them
(the neighbours, for some reason
have an
aversion to flames
in the company of fire)

the wizard and I,
we drank tea
and read the leaves
dumped out on our wrists
(the neighbours
conduct small affairs
in the mother-in-law suite
on a rotating

the wizard and I
the wizard and I
(the neighbours want me
at three
and the wizard at four
and the bed,
when I arrive
is cold)

the wizard and I
saw the milkman in early
hours, our
torches burnt out
years ago
(the wizard says to me,
“When I come in Mrs. Lisbon, I
think of you,”
and he rolls over
because the tea leaves

said so)

the wizard and I
like to pretend we’re dogs
and on the rug we growl
and chase
each others’ tails
(the neighbours are having a cocktail
. later,
we’ll be offered left over drinks
at three
& at four)

the wizard and I
the wizard and I
(the neighbours readjust their schedule
and I,

– no longer

the wizard and I
do the grocery shopping on
the 7th and the 24th,
whatever days
those are,
at midnight
(the neighbours in the front
like to
sic their dogs on me
if I stand outside for too long)

the wizard and I
made long-term arrangements
with the landlord
for a pint of pine-flavoured
(the wizard says to me,
“You aren’t sad I got your slot?”
I shake my head and he
explains —– —————-

the wizard and I
did not go to the pictures
last night
I went
(the wizard says to me
“—- — ——- —- —”
and then
“— ——— – —– —”
and I stab a kitchen knife
into my head

the wizard and I
the wizard and I
(the neighbours in th- back
watch rasslin
too loud on the
I’ll tell t-em, I think)

the wizard and I
like to pretend I’m a prisoner
and he strip searches
& the hole
in my head
(the wizard looks at me
“Do you still think of me…” I ask

and he shakes his head
because the tea lea–s

said so)

the wizard and I
went out to the back yard
and we lit our torches
(the neighbours in the back
watched me pretend to be Joan
of Arc
rather realistically)

the wizard and I,
we had 19 pool parties
in a row
on the lawn,
and I
(the wizard says to me,
“Can you feel the knife?”
and I say
“—– —- lizard man — ——–”
& “rock crotch”)

the wizard and I
were in the hallway
and he put his tongue
in my mouth
(– — ——– — —–
—— — — —- — –

– —— —– —)

— wizard and I
had l-nch at three
and he was off at
(the neighbours in the back
ask me — watch
—- rasslin
and I —- okay)

— wizard and –
—- nowhere again
last —–
all he wants from me
is —
(the neighbours in the front
like to sic
their dogs
on everyone

— wizard — –
— wizard — –
(— wizard says — –
“– held — – — —-
— the first time”
and I ——- and ——-
——– I — afraid)

— wizard — –
——– — —- –
severance pay
— —- monday

—– —- — ——- –

(the neighbours in the back
let me hop the fence
when I’m afraid of the

— wizard — –
sing songs —-
— telephone
—– chickens
“—————-!” they say
(the neighbours in the front
let the wizard
—- — —— without –
— I — —–
—– with tea leaves
on my —–)

— wizard — –
— —— — —
—- — — —
stays —–
(— —- —- —– — —— –
– —- —- – –
too much — fa– –
– —– — – -)

the —— and I
the —— and I
(the wizard looks at me,
“Are you sad you —-ed me?” I ask
and he shakes his —-
and dies
of cancer

the —— –d –
(the neigh—rs -n the —-
sing “——- —–”
and I don’t cry)
— —— — –
—– —– —- — —
forever — — –
– — –
(t– ———- — — —- d—
—- —– —- ——–
— —- and —s
damn you damn you
damn you)

— —— — –
—- – —- — – —
– – —— — – ——-
— ——

(damn you damn you
damn you
no one
told me this)

3 Responses to Into the Woods

  1. Going ‘Into the Woods’ seemed like a good start point for the walk through this exhibition. It was a disturbing beginning. Two very powerful poems here.

    Rohini’s is the darkest of the dark. The tone is reverent, the content is horrifying and terrifying – and, one can only hope, cathartic for the reader.

    Sarah’s is also disturbing and dark. The wizard is an ambivalent character – friend or foe? The defiant narrator always seems in danger of a comeuppance but also seems to be in control. And then there’s the disintegration of the text – mirroring the children’s song ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ where as it’s sung the body parts are no longer named – in a one at a time progressive disappearance unti lthere are no words left – only action. This is an inspired device – nodding in the direction of children’s poetry/song for much more adult purposes. Brilliant!

  2. Jay says:

    Reading “Missionary Position” was incredible. Very dark. Very frightening. It is short, but the imagery is powerful and evocative. Soni says as much between the lines as she does in the written words. I would like to see more from the author.

  3. Jay says:

    Not sure if you’ve heard, but Rohini Soni recently made a suicide attempt. 😦

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