In 1689, Johannes Fatio successfully managed to turn
Elizabeth and Catherine Mayerin
into water and oil in Constantinople.
Even when air was missing between them
like from a collapsed lung,
they could still face away from each other.
Their liver was split
the way you may split a mango and it grew
into two separate entities, the way a starfish would.
You are in Denmark and I am in Spain.
Old men play cards over breakfast in Sunday best.
Wasps hunch over fountains full of the sierra’s water.
Words slip from your fingertips as children on an ice rink.
My screen glares to echo them and I can almost
see the letters unchain themselves,
no longer trapped between the North and Baltic Seas,
now free as they cross countries to reach me.
They may be touching the words
slipping from my fingers in passing, the a’s and the r’s
moving over borders the way opium is smuggled
from Mexico to Douglas, Arizona.
I wake up to a punishing sun, my phone next to my knee.
As I look down to fetch it, I notice a tunnel of flesh
leading to your body – starting right at my sternum.
Alicia Fernández was born in Spain. She currently works in Leeds as a translator and is also a PhD student in Comparative Literature. Her poems have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including the Saboteur-shortlisted publications Riggwelter and Strix. Her debut pamphlet If Moments Were Places was published by Half Moon Books in 2017. That same year she won the title of Chapbook Champion at Ilkley Literature Festival, awarded by former BBC Poet in Residence Daljit Nagra. In 2018 she was longlisted in Mslexia’s Women’s Poetry Competition, judged by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. She is co-editor of the online poetry journal Algebra of Owls. She tweets @up_the_wolves