Bag o' Bones - Faith Wilson

My mother wakes up in the mornings, a fleshy
wobbling mother, a bosomly mother, she has
very big brown nipples and little black hairs
stab out from her Samoan calves: they have 
never been shaved, but her thighs are tattooed.

A woman once called my mother rotund, and
O! my mother is round, this woman gave her
a recipe for a 7 day soup diet and
then for a week she was skin and bone, but now
she is an O with a figure, and always will be.

My mother lies down and like a lover, I 
lift her shirt slowly so as not to startle her,
she is ticklish, and I fondle her stretchmarks,
lifelines that span her belly like a hand
but harder to read, they are silken and jiggly
like tofu, I nuzzle her belly with my entire face,
suffocating in her folds I open my mouth over her
belly button, pressing down with my tongue
I’m a cub again and suck and suck, I eat it all, 
I get very fat, I suck until a cord like a 
muscle tongue sticks out, I lure it out with my
tongue, and swallow it into my body, and
we get very very hungry.

We eat the frozen placenta we’ve
been saving for a special occasion, our teeth
chatter and we pretend we’re enjoying it
as you shrink and I grow,
shrink and grow,
you become so little I swallow you 
like a sugar pill,
you are sweet and do nothing,
I swell and spew
give birth to you, 
you come into the world
sweet and shining, a bundle of good
things, a Christmas hamper,
a lolly mixture.

You’re so tired from a long day 
birthing, I place you in your cradle, nestle 
you into the crook of Dad’s elbow.
He rocks-a-bye baby, a dulcet 
hum, winkles a sweet breath
from you, little sigh, you fall
asleep, a dolly mixture with all of
my faves, you sleep sleep sweetly,
Mama, little bag o’ bones.

Wunderkind - Faith Wilson

I’ve been an alcoholic
since I was eleven:
a good year, eleven.

We snuck some crème de menthe
at a St Paddy’s party hosted
by the Honiss family, kiss me
quick, I’m a 64th Irish.

Round Two, I’m twelve.
We’re drinking St. Remy 
from reused Nutella glasses, you know
the ones with cartoon characters
licked on the sides, Blinky Bill
or The Simpsons or something, and
all these drinks take names of saints
so I must be doing something holy.

I was made to practice abstinence
at high school. Sacred
Heart Girls’ and you’d think I’d
be able to find a shitty cask of
Velluto Rosso somewhere in
this nunnery; they must’ve
locked it up in preparation 
for my arrival, it seems, my
reputation precedes me.

In 4th Form the DTs hit.
I told everyone I had early onset
Parkinson’s so best not 
hand me your inkwell, or 
I’m doing my best impersonation
of Ms. Crook.
I can be a real joker sometimes,

so I was cast in the school play as
Lear’s Fool, but no one laughed
so they gave me Cordelia but 
I wasn’t white enough, I was a fine
Goneril, but drank all the medicine
intended for Regan, as Regan,
I never died, too legit to be
Edmund, too sane for Edgar
/too rich for Poor Tom,
way too crazy for Lear, and
soon I had too many faces but
none had reflections, I was
the whole play, the entire 
shit-storm, sturm und drang,
and the audience would ask
‘who are you?’, ‘what’s it all about?’ and
I could only shake my head, blow
winds, crack cheeks, and all
I could say was

The Virgins Chewing the Kava Leaves - Faith Wilson

Watch the virgins chew the kava leaves
chew chew spit
chew chew spit

Do they have to take a virgin test
before they’re chosen?
A hymen inspection?
Signs of blood on
their bedding?

Watch the virgins smoke the tobacco leaves
behind their fathers’ backs
puff puff pass
puff puff pass

they blow smoke up his arse
and in front of mirrors, 
obscuring with cloud yellow
fingertips to dip into blooded
dye, to smear across each cheek,
virginal, yes but virgin?

Watch the virgins lick the dicks of matai
under ancestors’ roofs
suck suck slurp
suck suck slurp

limps up in her juju-lipped mouth
her eyes level with pe’a thighs and 
when he turns around to wipe himself
she reads the story of his butt-cheeks

sings it like a song, dirties it with her
semen-painted tongue, replicates it
on her semen-smeared cheeks, they’re
ready for the tanoa,

chew chew spit
chew chew spit
back into the tanoa

watch the virgins’ eyes glow 
as the matai pass the ‘ava round,
mouth to mouth,
lip to lip, 
dick to dick,

the Most Solemn of Rituals
the Great Circle Jerk.

Contributor's Note

My writing explores ideas of what it is to be a twenty-something, half-caste (afakasi) Samoan female in the twenty-first century and the tropes or expectations of that personhood. I'm really into using language as a mechanism to upset or disturb these expectations, but mostly I like to write something that's a bit fun.


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