Poetry: “Relish in the Remaining” and “Slower than Moontide”, by Perla Kantarjian

Relish in the Remaining
There is a fatal struggle for a thing or two
of divine birthright. How staggering this irony
stands against the chest.
Look, I do not know you, but I can see
your breath, feel it as though it rises and falls
within the gulp of my very own throat;
how it becomes this rare thing of
clogged density worming heavy through the cloth
that yet shields your countenance
from that of the raw air.
BEWARE! There is disease for the exposed.
We are all warned.
There is a lack of ease
permeating the century, clear as mud
to some, “Look, this was all prophesied,” to
some others.
There is a book that knows it all.
Nothing is Delphic of 2020.
We were all warned.
But bright and clear there is my people,
their ancient spirit struggling through a recurring genocidal thunder
a thousand and a little more kilometres away,
and there is the silence
of the world
in roaring volumes.
There is just so much blood wasted.
But look, behind my window there is the breaking
open of the wintertide, smooth and unhurried, and I know
each crack of lightning is reminding me of when the pith
of my city detonated in August, and of how I am yet picking
its shards off my bruised rib cage,
but a few days into the well of November,
and the oranges will have already become bloody,
and sweet, mother reminds me.
And now, right now, there is an organic oyster breaking senses apart
on my tongue, unfolding delight. The fungi, you see,
not the living shellfish. The charm of it, safely wrapped
in a dough of spelt and chickpea, transported
into the warmth of my anatomy, sheltered
by my bones. In its curried marination there is
a comfort, of sorts.
Nothing is falling out of place.
“It tastes just like chicken,” I tell my inspirited colleague.
She wants to convert to vegetarianism.
I understand her.
There is just so much to delight in without
all this blood.
Slower Than Moontide
The never-ending
search for delight
overrides my transient bed
of roses
and asudden the sensation
of discontent hits me like a fleshy wave
and I must escape
must urge the zephyr to make haste
I must stir movement and exude
sentences as long and as meaningful as rivers
falling down my fluid spine
as I move about
the filaments
of civilization.
I must hurry into
my finesse I must be provoked before
my time comes.
I am entangled and tickled by
the pulps of all things alive
and cryptic.
Find me in the midst of the telluric tides,
Earth-bound and brewing
my electricity growing
my hair inches longer
disemboweling shells of walnuts naked,
acorns, conifer cones,
in search of bread and home.
Find me swept away into the elixir of their ripened dance,
this tribe of daisies rising towards the sun
their only God,
the paddings of their celestial faces
lukewarm beneath my fingers like
buttercream softening upon my tongue.
Rose petals, bird
cherries, sweet violet-
You take me back to my song
of stillness
among all this rush.

Perla Kantarjian is a Lebanese-Armenian writer, journalist, editor, and instructor of literature and journalism, residing in Beirut. Her writings have been published on various platforms, both print and online. The most recent include Rusted Radishes, WalQalam, Annahar Newspaper, The Armenian Weekly, and Bookstr. Kantarjian also works as a freelance copywriter and flow arts performer.

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