Aries M Gacutan

Two Poems


first bruise in a year
& it’s nestled right up near my knee
hugging cartilage like some sort of
angry, violet leech

i prod
& feel the flesh retract
                —salt on a thundercloud slug
         sending ripples across my
         glistening epidermis

how far has this
little visitor
burrowed down?

        i move
        it shouts      i shout
from deep within
full-throated & blue
                      & set capillaries to snapping

i wince at the crack
& the strain
of widening tunnels

Notes on Keeping a Little Guy Alive in Your Stomach

Three days ago, I swallowed a devil
While he stewed at the bottom of a soup bowl
I gasped around hot mouthfuls
As he         lolloped       down my oesophagus
       Tore streaks   into         my trachea
              Smashed my   voice box        with his tail
                           And settled
                           Like a gargoyle
                           In a damp, red cavern
Even now, he pushes against
My terrible walls
Teeth bared, shoulders shaking
       I cannot bring myself to resent him
I taste his hunger with my own
        I hear him      wail   in the morning grey
I gulp rice grains by the spoonful
They clatter around him
In a hard, fast rain
           I hear no mastication
           I hear only the creak of his neck
           When he peers up at the skylight
           Looking for airplanes

Aries M Gacutan is a writer and editor based in Wathaurong country. Their work has been published in places like Meanjin, Voiceworks, Layabout, Farrago, #EnbyLife, and Baby Teeth, and they are currently a member of the Voiceworks Editorial Committee. They want to get back into swimming, and they swear they’ll do it once they work up the courage to drive to their local community fitness centre. Just give them a couple days.

Published by swim meet lit mag

swim meet lit mag is a young online publication based in Brisbane, Australia. Swim meets bring people together; swim meet lit mag seeks to offer an accessible space to read and publish all kinds of creative work from around the world, with a particular focus on local emerging writers. Now in its third year of operation, swim meet lit mag plans to continue expanding its catalogue, which is, and will always be, free to access. Each issue is framed by a swimming-related theme, to which the responses are always wonderfully surprising and diverse. 

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