Illyric Elegy #10 [“The doctor told me she would never speak”]

Mathilda Cullen


The doctor told me she would never speak
to me again. “I can’t believe I have you,” she said to me.
It was a miracle, a communism collapsing speech altogether.
We spoke with our hands, our eyes; even this metaphor
metastasizes in the social body, producing more speech.
The preference for sight in metaphor blinds me
to other modes of seeing. Empire in my eyes.
Closed a curtain across a landscape. The words dance
and won’t tell you why. This is a refusal to assign meaning
to arbitrary movement. The sweep of people
across is all the sense there is. Just the sun now. All air.



Mathilda Cullen is a poet and translator. She is a central committee member of woe eroa. Her forthcoming works include Vormorgen: The Collected Poems of Ernst Toller (The Operating System, 2021) and Stanzas for Four Hands: An Ophanim with Dominick Knowles (woe eroa, 2021). She also hosts the Prolesound podcast.

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