Margarita Tenser

You might look at all these used bandaids
curled up like shrivelled little earlobes and think
“Surely there must be a long-term solution
to the problem of blood-loss. This is inefficient.
Perhaps something with magnets?”

You might also pick apart a rope, strand by strand
until long, thin threads cover everything in your apartment.
You might, if pressed, go into detail
on the topic of old Russian poets, categorising them
alphabetically, by cause of death. Perhaps
a diagram, Venn or otherwise, comparing
the relative frequency of suicide and execution
will come into being on the back of an envelope
previously containing a letter from your local council member
promising without apparent irony to clean up beaches
and resist environmentalist taxes.

Unless, of course, you are distracted by a pair of crows
flying north, or south, or across the sea to the land of the dead
and instead wind up with little faces, like you used to draw
in margins when teachers were talking. What will you do
when the paper is black and blue all over? Here’s another
I have accidentally put my hand on.

Having staunched the flow of ink these rags will be forgotten
gathering in corners, and you might well wish
your thoughts sprang fully formed from your brain into mine.
But see the raw red edges at the ridges of your skull?
It’s bad enough to know this much.

Someone said that nobody can go through life
like an open wound. The thing is, and I’ve put this
to the test, that it is also impossible
to go through life not in any way resembling an open wound.
This is why the religious men call on us
to cover up our bodies. They have not yet understood
that there is no tasteful paisley curtain for the soul –
only barbed-wire fences, and piles upon shed snakeskin piles
of old brown-spotted bandages.


Margarita Tenser is an Australian writer and poet who lives with their life-partner, housemates, madness and one cat. Their work has been published in Strange Horizons, Meniscus, Breath & Shadow and Stone Telling, among others. You can find their blog at