Dog-eared, & Flux by Madeleine Ackerman

Dog-eared, & Flux by Madeleine Ackerman


I asked once if you’d ever dog-eared a moment,

marked it out for future reference so that you might one day return?

You said yes, that you were young —


In the backseat of your parents' car on the way home at sundown,

shapes cut black against a blue and orange twilight rolled past

in two dimensions as though the outside world were knowable,

cut and glued like children's craft and bereft of the depth

that you knew inside this car — head hung onto your seatbelt,

parents whispers rippling down the highway, into sleep —


Were in your teens, plunging through the green glass of a wave

about to break, bare flesh slick

through the ensconcing sea — breath thickened, bracing

between your temples, eyes furrowed into fireworks

against the onslaught of salt that sought to blind them, and you thought, 'But the ocean is no match for me' —


At a bar with friends, perched around a too-small table and

willing your skin towards your spine — when

she slid you a packet of crisps,

flayed the foil down its middle, spilling its filling like innards

across its flanks like wings and told you to,

'Eat up'.


I asked once if you’d ever dog-eared a moment,

etched it in the midst of so to keep the past as present?

Somewhere you can keep us safe, come back to and still know me.



Yawn the fat fish from your mouth agape,

all teeth and steam and carcass,

impel past your tongue, tonsils —

slipping like fucking,

like retching like moaning —

and cum, thick, in exorcism,

fish after fish after fish.


Flexed fins slit the walls of your gullet,

desperate as claw marks down concrete —

or hers

down his back —

discreet as the rings counting time inside of tree trunks,

veiled in the flesh through which they peel:

get angry.


Pour forth through the wound

crusting over at its corners,

calluses which flower with

every silent scream —

feel the skin split anew as you empty the fat fish,

their gelatinous film (think

Tarantino, think placenta)

easing this mass exodus, humming between gags,

one must just keep swimming.


The fullest of their girth frays

your sclera with red lightning —

you sigh as the last fish tempers off,

spills free through the softening

'O' of your lips,

wipe the scales from your chin

(like petals, like stained glass, like plaque psoriasis)

and realise — though you’re prone to metaphor,

this is a disease.


Find more from Madeleine on Twitter.


Executive Producers

Daniel Henson

Sue White

Karolina Ristevski

Dumpstar, New A New, Spread This Soft, & Terror Good by Nick Chlopicki

Dumpstar, New A New, Spread This Soft, & Terror Good by Nick Chlopicki

Greed, Lust, & Pride by Jessica Emerson

Greed, Lust, & Pride by Jessica Emerson