POEM OF THE MONTH: Stomach (plus two more) by Elenia Graf


Elenia Graf reading ‘Stomach’



i text you about all my meals so you know what’s inside of me when it’s not you. these days i rejoice in cutting up beautiful things other than myself. red onion, courgette, yellow bell pepper, and too many cloves of garlic. when i miss you i send you the mushroom emoji. when i want your attention i post raunchy pics of myself eating raspberries on the internet. fragile fruit. i want to store the way i feel when i’m with you in an empty jam jar. spread it on toast each morning to get me through the doubt. i’d tell you im havin toast for brekky. you wouldn’t need to know the specifics of what i use to appease my hunger. heather jam. i wouldn’t even be mad if the seeds got stuck in my teeth, i’d wave at everyone and say look i’m carrying bliss in my mouth with the toothiest grin. i’m trying to think of a time i’ve been satisfied for longer than fifteen minutes. i’m trying not to make you the sole provider of my satisfaction and succeeding. i cook sun-dried tomato soup. buy a mango just because. when we met i stopped getting high so i could stop lying about getting high. i’m trying to omit less information. i have a list as long as the train track from your house to mine. every bullet point a question boiling down to do you want what’s inside of me when it’s not you



think of something heavy, now drop
it to deduce the length of the descent.
we are in the place where it lands,
imagine the moon without craters.
imagine the sound that rang
when it was engrailed.
now imagine two hundred
and nineteen
moons, all falling
in the alley behind my house.
hear the impact.
one by one cracking concrete. a breath
in my ear,
natural satellite.
lift your head. watch them
cascading from this side of the window.
fuck me through an avalanche
of moons.
and later, when we go outside
so i can smoke a cigarette,

we’ll put them back
up in the night sky.
with arms above our heads.



marisa punches me in the face         when i don’t stop singing         football songs on the hike
my first and only fist fight         a one-strike affair that ends with my blood in the ryegrass
that summer in ’06         she chases boys around tents       blurry children in bayern jerseys
all of them still sore we lost the world cup       in spite of the hymns       and the camaraderie
i don’t care for sports       i only sing the songs       for an arm around my shoulder like we’re on the same team
marisa goes swimming with the boys       chucks her shirt in the sun-scorched field
by the river where the ground is humming       and from afar they look the same
cicada legs in sopping trunks       identical chests       children in high summer
one with a ponytail
us girls talk of course       about her curiosity       that i am so curious about
that summer in ’06       i learn that one can ask too many questions       about another girl
when julia says it’s weird       all the things i want to know       about what marisa’s like
if she wants to be something      and what that something is
each misarranged sentence       a placeholder       for words i haven’t learned yet
i       dyke child       stuck in that week in august       for another decade
too much river water in my mouth       to unstrange strangeness
thinking the blood       the blood is what happens

Elenia Graf is a Manchester-based poet whose work grapples with the traumatised self, navigating lesbian identity, and always wanting more (but never saying it). She has released an illustrated poetry zine and is currently working on a collection about dykehood and gendered experience. She was specially commended for the 2019 Fresher Writing Prize for Poetry and her work has been published in the 2020 Manchester Anthology. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester.

27 January 2021