Photo of a pink starfish in dark blue water.

‘Starfish’ by Kamila Rina

Trigger warning/content note: references to past trauma, non-graphic; sex, on page, some graphic details; brief reference to suicidality.


That was a terrible and marvellous spring.
The sun stayed up later and later,
and so did we, talking and touching, in the
indirect afternoon light, in the thin dusk,
in the dark, the boxes of our eyes
pressing the images closed: soft dark hair,
dull tear tracks, hopeful mouth shapes, tenderness
spreading under our skins like a virus or a vine.

We weren’t used to love, feeling it trickle,
then flood, through our sedimented insides.
Oh the shrieking pipes of our hearts hurt,
as we expected.  So much pressure,
our eyes, our noses, fountained.  Then our
cunts, cocks, whatever else our jewelled bits
could be called when two boy-girls go to bed.

The dreadful capes of our shared past did go with us —
flick flick flick went the ticker at the bottom
of your orbital sockets, tap tap tap went
your fingers wrapped around my back,
your voice beating against the sharp memory
curved inside your mouth —

But we gentled them, re-stitched the nets of them
with our words and hands, made them something
we could lie on, with, in bed, without a sear
opening in our tissues, weeping. 

And we played, single-mindedly, avidly
grasping the flesh — your sweet small feet,
my round slick ass, my knuckles, your breasts,
your quiet forearms — and I’d never
come that hard, had never felt like I was shouting
the bricks down from the walls, sanding
my vocal cords, had never welcomed the sun
rising on a lover’s face as they gazed down at me. 
Until then.  We came together to fuck and worship
again and again.  It was our sailway out
of Neverland; the gentle closing of some hard covers.

Then it ended, like a torrential summer rain,
a flash flood carrying away the possessions of
a lifetime, and it was only then that I knew I’d packed
my body with you.  You were in me, brick,
stitch, and vine.  I couldn’t yank you out,
empty me out like a house newly to let;
it seemed that would be removing the circuits,
the load-bearing beams. 

So I sat down and waited.  Waited while crying,
waited while wanting to die under the wheels
of a bus, waited while trying to make myself
eat, or sleep.  Waited to lose you
like a genderfluid starfish might lose a limb,
waited to see what I would regrow,
who I would become.

About the author:

Kamila Rina is an autistic and multi-disabled immigrant Jewish non-binary bi demi-ace poet and a sexuality/gender/disability educator, living on unceded Mississaugas of the Credit territory on Turtle Island. They have been published internationally, including in Room Magazine, Contemporary Verse 2, Breath & Shadow, Monstering, Deaf Poets Society, Carousel, Augur, Frond, Mary, Living Hyphen, and Queer Out There. Their favourite things include trees, books, radical accessibility, and people and things that smell good. <>

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash.

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