Jasmine Gui | RESURGENT ARTEFACTS (Winner, Vallum Poetry Award 2022)

RESURGENT ARTEFACTS

this morning, a hole appears in your stomach. you rinse dishes that
roll inward. sprinkle flowers which disappear. your heartbeat ragged
like stems rotting in still water. it is no small devastation. sprung
without antecedent or count in. just a slow sink.
………………………………………………………………………………a mossy bog.
entropy you encroach with busied hands.
you begin a daily catalogue to wedge these feelings: β€œin June I overheard
β€œtroubling troubling” in the kettle boil. blew at steam. read the tea leaves.
rattled fish bones to witness brittle things snapping.” in the churning you
rehearse cajoling. gape between words to incite interrupting. allow tempers
mercurial and expansive into the body.
yourself full of yourself but strange
……………………………………………………………………………..and slowly.
it is a summer of wheat paste disorder. flies and dandelion surging
from concrete. you nurse a severe ache for cracked bearings. dog-ear your
wants soft and spongey. the records are thickening roots eager to strangle,
leaves pensive and lunging for the colour yellow. itchy in the throat for
ripening dreams, you flush and swell.
…………..because the body wants what it does.
…………..because you are caught without.
you are inconsolable even when the clay is rolled out and the milk tea stirred.
you should find solace yet the details give no stories. not even the joke of
certainty. instead, you roll laundry into drawers of things thrown and
throwing in rehearsed anticipation of failure.
tomorrow morning, you neatly fold
……………………………………………………………………………days in the moment of vanishing.
in the languid sulk of afternoon there are windows and light reflecting. traffic
a chorus floating up thick and uneven. you count rubber bands. to hold
receipts. to unstick jars. to pull hair back when you dream of relief.
more busied hands. more cajoling.
……………for when the future tense arrives before prophecy.


Jasmine Gui is a Singaporean-born interdisciplinary artist, and arts programmer based in Tkaronto. She runs Teh Studio and San Micropress, working in writing, spatial installation and bookmaking. She is the author of two chapbooks and collaborates on experimental paper arts as one-half of the creative duo, jabs. She is currently a second-year PhD student at York University.