On a boat from Langkawi to Penang
I sat next to a woman who smiled easily,
she read a novel that was “borderline-erotic”
investigating this other life with curiosity,
another mind’s fantasy.
She was exquisite and breathing
lost in the labyrinth of movement –
chasing the sublime.
I drank in her stories –
she spoke of mediocre men
who rubbed against her like hungry cats.
Interpreting her desire in shallow ways,
disclosing their sexual routines,
interrupted often by my hiccupping laugh.
She spoke of the bee stings and brutality
that she had encountered as a child.
Like it was as simple as a sneeze,
she spoke to a stranger honestly.
Nisha Bhakoo is a British poet and editor, living in Berlin. She is currently working on a PhD on the uncanny in contemporary poetry at Humboldt University. Her first poetry collection, You found a beating heart, was published by The Onslaught Press in 2016. Her second poetry collection, Black & White Dream, was published in 2018 by Broken Sleep Books.