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Three Poems 

Emma Mackilligin

i.    Oysters

        The first time I ate oysters
        was with you & you
        watched as I tilted my head
        & swallowed the slime
        & I laughed at the salt
        on my insides
        because I like salt & you
        laughed too
        because I didn’t vomit.

        The first time
                with you & you
        watched as I
               swallowed the slime
        &   laughed at the salt
        on my insides
                      I didn’t vomit.

        The         time

                             tilted my head
                                the slime
                                the salt

             my insides
                        I         vomit.

ii.     I Don’t Know how to Clothe this Loving Body


        Since this morning I have lain here
        almost naked on your leopard print
        avoiding eye contact with appliances.

        I have so many ideas about the things that I’m not.


        My body floats somewhere around.


        People don’t really want to know about it.


        Why is it that loved ones place so much weight?


        I blame photos of myself       & other women.


        Is it possible to exchange memory for tightness?


        When I was small-scale I didn't know how to love.


        Now I am enormous.


        It’s easy to forget which parts are temporary.


        There is nothing I want more.


        Oh, baby, what should I be aiming at?


        All I really want is to be admired.

iii.   Interim

        I heard a light bulb  
        described as a solid piece of light  
        & all I could think of were the filaments  
        squirrel caged & possessing  
        some kind of liquidity like that  
        of this moment in which I'm standing  
        on this floor & not the one above
        for my reflection in the taps & in the light bulbs  
        as I tilt my chin upwards. Lately  
        I tend to study limbs 
        in search of hard lines  
        & tight angles  
        to justify a recent fear  
        of disappearing elbows. I've also taken to biting
        that lip between two fingers
        & wondering if the flesh
        will swallow the joint while I
        avoid the full length
        & think of how I'd like to own things    
        like a crocheted swimsuit
        & a jar of maraschino cherries.

Emma Mackilligin is a poet and woman. She lives in London.


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Hotel is a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. The magazine is bi-annual, the online archive is updated periodically.

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The lead images on the home page are by Erica Baum—‘Two Blackboards’ (circa 1990)—excerpted from Hotel #1

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