Two Poems by Aïcha Martine Thiam

Fugue III: Weltschmerz

in the middle of a sorrow snowstorm even the tossed timber dice looks pearl sugar white

i am dante, spring’s a limbo

with every refrigeration, mementos of looming, stalling hope  with every warmth, an impish groundhog taunts

                        an overstay                  no tendernesses in sight

winter still has her throttling fingers around her successor’s poor throat

i am bits and pieces i am love, culled in a bottle

            an ice bath

memory, a cold finger touch you can’t warm out of your body rumination, a river babble, damless

the whole of bleary noon, space heaters, weighted blankets, december ice creams the thought cannibalized into a wiry core of truth shadows playing hopscotch on lashes

there’s a door pushing up against my mind and if i let it it says poetry or it says its neighbor-sister death, dying, driving oneself car-mad collecting lashes of indifference cyanotype impressions of gloom i let out a half-stilted laugh and the lie i’ll let you know when i’m too cold                     the world in my hands 

and yet: always toeing, always teasing the free rein line BAREBONES

sunday evening, day’s been crisp,  the heavens offer their tearful face.  rain, like a promise, hovers overhead; the sky feels friend, feels mine again,  and Sainte-Catherine, lucent showgirl, flutters on her vaporous stage. on these ululating streets, i am just  another person on fire, another pair of  pulsating feet drumming Montréal’s ticklish heart. the tip of my nose a drippy-drip faucet.

i can hide. i can’t hide. should i hide?


these thoughts, they make me angry; when i get angry it’s a whisk taken to the bowl of my head, scrambling me  all the way down my grinding teeth to my gut. i throw my memory around like those old sticky hand toys, watch, with cat-clock eyes, what kind of bagatelle it drags back: no prom. no college libertinage. so many  missing milestones, pendulating in your wake. i wear this bulky, barbed coat fervidly, like too many people finding God in captivity.


my body never tells me what she wants, we favor different key signatures. i walk, and she starts whirring and casting about; i, fickle fishperson, cast about and she starts bringing me unnamed places. the sky feels friend, feels mine again; while that feeling lasts i make windmills, i make like the Montréal pigeons milling about, knowing they’re never welcome, but still daring  — i’ve been here all along, i never left — requiescence, creature comforts, self-delusion.

Fugue II: Roundabout Is Fine you wanted a quiet house/when it stilled mad you went/landlocked grief/graveyard tan guts there was no epiphany/nadir thoughts fractal wrongness/but this strange suffering did not make you yield/the house stayed quiet diabolical solo sudokus in stead of tossing out land anchors/no: seaboat daydreams/roundabout is fine

Aïcha Martine Thiam is a trilingual/multicultural writer, musician and artist; she has been nominated for Best of the Net, The Best Small Fictions and The Pushcart Prize. Aïcha’s the author of AT SEA (CLASH BOOKS), and BURN THE WITCH (Finishing Line Press). Follow her work at Her Instagram handle is @maelllstrom.