Poem introduction

This poem looks at the trauma of rape, via a painting by Tabitha Vevers.

Mermaid

(after Tabitha Vevers)

About human love,
                             she knew nothing.
I’ll show you he promised.
But first you need legs.

And he held up
                        a knife

with the sharpest of tips
to the ripeness of her emerald tail.

She danced an involuntary dance
captive
            twitching with fear.

Swiftly
          he slit

down the muscular length
exposing the bone in its red canal.

She played dead on the rock

          dead by the blue lagoon
          dead to the ends of her divided tail.

He fell on her, sunk himself deep 
into the apex.

Then he fled
                    on his human legs.

Human love cried the sea,
the sea in her head.


from Europa (Bloodaxe, 2008), © Moniza Alvi 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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Recordings

Moniza Alvi Downloads

1I Would Like to be a Dot in a Painting by Miró

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2I Was Raised in a Glove Compartment

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3Presents from My Aunts in Pakistan

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4Arrival 1946

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5The Country at My Shoulder

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6The Sari

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7Map of India

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8Domain

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9And If

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10The Wedding

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11An Unknown Girl

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12Carrying My Wife

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13All Fours

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14My Wife's Problem

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15Living Alone

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16An April Walk

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17Blood

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18Without Us

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19Bat

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20Escape

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21Great and Small

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22Do They Miss Us

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23Yes

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24Nothing

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25Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

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26How the World Split in Two

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27How the Sky Got a Hole in It

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28How the Words Feared the Mouth

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29How Yesterday Joined Today and Tomorrow

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30How the Stone Found Its Voice

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31Rural Scene

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32Shift

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33Her Symptoms

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34Memory Memory

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35In Response

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36The Sleeping Wound

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37Mermaid

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38Hanging

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39A Gift

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40Upholding the 'I'

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42King Agenor

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43from 'At the Time of Partition' - The Line

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44from 'At the Time of Partition' - And Now

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