Petra Kamula 69

Petra Kamula


Self portraiture necessitates a reflective surface

Layer me slowly it is solstice               gut light          lingering
long on the exquisite layers of my _______  wolf. A lungful
of milk thistles, summer snow, released, a thickening          of air and blood

light coagulates, someone says sweating under an open sun
and what is an open sun?  

open-mouthed a swallowing sun, your bare legs crossed
in sunlight patched, the blue rug, a tattoo of leaves shaded onto your calves
can the sun     close

can it close over me and can I live in this land without sun? There both of us
open under fierce light sunk too close to earth for clarity

I will leave you
in two days. Do you know, love. Do you know. I pour

a stream of dark/ hair over
your shoulders popped
with freckles open/ and lower           my       mouth


The living room sharp edged a fiddle leaf fig almost reaches the ceiling
a flushed jungle of ceramics / the suburb outside going on
its hot packed streets / traffic moan / inside it is

 a greenhouse a layer of fat on everything and I carve
small longings into your ribs. When you’re dead
                                                                                    & they want
to read your bones

they will have to use a microscope, a laboratory
Your bones will be touched
                                    only through plastic / there are
saint’s bones                           with tiny inscriptions on them

to say who they sunk their fingers into/ which fish bellies they opened, which kings/
You say – take all your clothes off & stand
there by the light at the window
the mandarins glowing / reversed eggs
                                                          yolk surrounds the shell of pith

naked I split one down the middle / thumb
through the centre     the yawning sound it makes
 that ache that axe the cut     
that volcano breaking –


Self portraiture necessitates a reflective surface.
Your round breasts in the smeared
glass of the oven, this mechanical framing, in-temporal intake of breath.

The window is framed by sharp stems of climbing roses.
Your eyes outward/ intimate that I might know you
when you gaze upon yourself there is / hot emerge / we know
ourselves well


Stationary light captured: us, this. Elevation of moment in memory. A cardinal
reflection in the coffee pot, that old-beaked thing, leaking burnt-sweet steam

into the room while outside the sound of birds in the grasses beneath the new-burst
berries, This – you close to me but still a shoulder turned half away. This

you, godlessness, a stripping of the cloaks, thin as the mamba skin we used to find
in our old kitchen, curled as bark in the same places we would stand to make pasta

or where I could part your legs the way a palm leaf splits from the main stem and bend
my knees to take you. These necessities of reflection as the sun zeniths as the white roses

bob on their tender stems, black with the minute bugs that devour the buds in swarm. What
have I come to know in these moments of lengthening light that unwind in my hands

like spun sugar to uneasy temporality/ The way you pour your butter into my open skull
the way time undoes all we were certain of just seconds past and in seconds before.

What will I know when you are gone and I am near to you but there are bricks and a country
between us/ What will I want when there is a frame for our once instable voluble closeness

What did I believe then, now, and what heavy gaze will remake it when all is just
one particle closer to us and closer to the light?

Petra Kamula is a poet based between Bali, Indonesia and London, England. A graduate of the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, her work has appeared in journals including Poetry Review, Cordite, Poetry Wales and HVTN.