Suna Afshan

Suna Afshan

Human Waste


When I attempt to hang my scarf around your ceiling fan
in some bodily comedy you find more crass and more tasteless
than the offal stew I served at our last bring-a-dish-Tuesday
I hear your pot-bellied husband cry from his place on the ottoman
  This part—oh Lordy!—this part of her life is called Broken Biscuits!
It is so funny to me, and given that I’m a poet, I choke.


I am useless at making trifles
for my love of stoned fruit
—O the way flesh gives herself
to the bitter almond pit—
for my hatred of cornflour custard.
I am so partial to the separating of eggs:
the whites that smear my forearms
the yolks I am so impatient to cradle.
   Sisters! I was a battery hen like you!

I am useless at making trifles
so I bring one to your potluck.
In the silent taxi I fantasise
scooping mouthfuls of the plum jelly
the vanilla bean cream
the battery custard, as if I were that hen.
And I would climb atop the dining table, squat
press my lips to yours, and I would push
and I would feed this brood I did not suffer.


   A prawn is the holiest thing!
I have listened to your co-worker
speak on the sanctity of shellfish.
   Remove the head. That’s it!
Beneath the table, he is knocking
his training shoe against my calf.
   Remove the gut! A filthy thong, no?
No more clatter of bones on china
we mop lamb’s blood with breadsticks.
   The prawn is closest to God.

SUNA AFSHAN is a poet and prose writer from the Midlands. She is Co-founder and Editor of Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal and Director of Pallina Press.