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South African writer Megan Ross debuted her poetry collection earlier this month. The collection, Milk Fever, is published by Uhlanga Press, an independent Cape Town-based press known for publishing Koleka Putuma’s bestselling poetry collection Collective Amnesia.

Enjoy this poem from the collection.

Armageddon Summer

“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.”

—Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities.

 

I sewed your name into my

heel. I was 15 and a

fool, I let it swim under

my skin & breathe smoke into

my veins, confusing the heat

with something living, not a

dead star orbiting wet ga

laxies. I didn’t know then

that we were rivers: that we

would trace our blood to the same

source & swim south toward the

 

ocean, that you would ragged

tooth this world from my body

& spit helium into

my blood-wetted lungs. Did I

somehow mistake your fist for

love, and eel it inside my

mouth, press my anemone

tongue to your heliotrope

teeth? Or did we simply burn

our December skins, reli

shing their Coca-Cola blanch 15

& shining pink. Small eyes blink

ing for the first time inside.

Each brand new cut: our begging

for voice; the fetid blisters

cursed to scales, our slashed wrists re

sisting the gills we longed for.

Tempting as vodka, broken

as glass, we lost our legs to

tails; wrote our names in next-day

vomit. Lone holography.

 

That was the summer we closed

around each other like stone

walls, thinking love immortal,

as if we were speaking the

language of our futures and

not the ancient light of stars.

We didn’t know that in this

drowning world our skins are salt

& desert is the song of

girls unborn, who soon dream of

their own small deaths. We thought mood

rings fair trade for mulberries;

laddered arms friendship’s true price.

 

We split our lot with fish &

left our bodies to the sun.

 

******

HOW TO GET YOUR COPY OF MILK FEVER (R180.00):

1) IN SOUTH AFRICA:
– Exclusive Books
– Bargain Books
– Independent book stores (Book Lounge Kalk Bay Books Love Books etc)

If the book is NOT in stock, please ORDER it with these details:
Milk Fever by Megan Ross, published by uHlanga in 2018. Very important is the ISBN number: 978-0-620-79227-1

You can also obviously order via Amazon, too.

2) OUTSIDE OF SOUTH AFRICA:

– Amazon.com: It’s print-on-demand so even if there is no stock, you can still order the book and it will arrive.
African Books Collective

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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