Self-Portrait as Goro Majima


Self-Portrait as Goro Majima


I like trying on your body. Tilt of your hips, thew and sinew, swivel
the right stick to see how
you look on me: wrung out, worn thin. Brittle grin of you stretching
us into fists. Your smart mouth’s
red. How you can’t stop naming yourself. How in a foregone
future you
bare your taut belly as though the bodies of these men aren’t set
to ruin us. As though the rind
of your knees can keep the blood inside of you. They couldn’t
render your scars so instead we hold
a closed eyelid, empty socket, hair absent on your fine-boned wrists.
You already carry
a woman on your back—what’s one more?

I want a change
of skin. We haven’t yet been married, but you’re a family man.
Hands just like a father’s. Press
× to interact. Press ○ to cancel. Reverse the trajectory of this
body, the throatful of sham
dialect and smoke. Spit oozing back into you. Swell of you fits
better than I ever did. I don’t
know where you’ve been, but I could take us
to karaoke, and drinks, and
tripe barbecue, swallow your snake’s tongue, wet pillow
of your chest. Forget that
you were ever anything less than powerful, insides of our thighs
marking the year
when no one came to save us. Tap ×
repeatedly to surface. Hold × to dash. You can only
sprint for so long. I don’t have the currency
to help you outrun this.

I’m not controlling. You can idle as long as I let you—smoke, ash,
smoke and stretch, roll the breadth of our knotted
shoulders, shudder
and breath. Press □. Press □. Press
□. Animal whimper, △ and chokehold, a lover’s tight
clench. Have you noticed our body’s
all wrong? Remember
when we could keep both eyes open? Flash back to April,
before I could move you, when I could only
pause or turn away, watermelon
we smashed to pieces, our hand and its gesture toward the last
days of spring, the sticky
-hot joy of you before we knew
what we would do to each other.

Shastra Deo

Author: Shastra Deo

Shastra Deo was born in Fiji, raised in Melbourne, and lives in Brisbane. Her first book, The Agonist (UQP 2017), won the 2016 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and the 2018 ALS Gold Medal.

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