Annick MacAskill

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(three poems from Medulla (Ill Meat), a translingual erasure of Catullus)


I. v. 1

Slice me, our common
miracle. You in the
temple        stay;
imps count paces,
their method vile.

Boys worshipped you and
me, too. Skies paled.  
Last we, but the boy
lasts –

we    a dwarf star in his wake     too inconsequential
to collapse             a dent     over the horizon
aspires to the sky.

I. ix.2

The babe     cackles        meets our empty REM sleep
jubilant     proud father
to our twisted limbs     our oneiric chains
muscles our resolve    defeat met.

I fear we    

as our ill meat divine
spoils. I know your
incantation, it caws
in my essence – music
and pulse as bile

II. xi.3

I know him now – a virgin

trained in infatuation
errant        ferocious    
a tiny         terrific divinity  
shaking eternities     destinies
of emperors
billionaires –

my desire is not his gain:

I set my passion to another melody,
    forgive the kid his puerile

Venus absconds     Amor pulverises
but it was Catullus who sank me.

I swam my way to shore.

Name me

I am not your catch
                your vestal     your guise.

I am venom    ice.



1. Catullus XXIII (l. 4) – XXIX (l. 14).

2. Catullus XLV (l. 17) – LV (l. 1).

3. Catullus LXI (l. 13) – LXII (l. 4).



Annick MacAskill is a poet and reviewer whose work has appeared in journals such as Canadian Notes & Queries, Room, Grain, Versal, Prism, and The Fiddlehead. She is the author of a full-length collection, No Meeting Without Body (Gaspereau Press, 2018), and a chapbook, Brotherly Love: Poems of Sappho and Charaxos (Frog Hollow Press, 2016).