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Toska | Amelia Theodorakis

Vladimir Nabokov describes Toska as “a

dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing

to long for, a sick pining, a vague

restlessness, mental throes, yearning”.

I understand now what a room can do to a

body, to a spirit, the shape of fossils change

when turned in the hand too long, I saw myself

with water, felt compelled to rest my feet in

the sea’s grass, the more glory to sway in with

the hips, you need a bigger hill to die on

though and a string quartet to go down with, I

remember how we bumped blue bodies,

rubbed lips till they bled, imagine if you had

wanted the crown of my head cupped in your

hand for centuries, my body and all its

determined salt, I didn’t mind your fingers

slipped into the gashes, shrinking to fit the thin

stems of flowers pulled up with roots, in the

ancient stone burial chamber of four in the

morning I ran my hands along the splitting

geology of an hour and wondered whether I

would be the cat or the Egyptian in the next

life, gloriously hooked out of myself through

the nasal canal, embalmed in olive oil and old

air, to be admired in glittering expiry for a

thousand years, but who am I to deserve such

eternity, it would be easier to think of space

and the ocean as two thaumaturgic kingdoms,

the diaphanous habitat of the middle ground

being the only place humans can survive with

breath, that should be enough but it is a

hominoid distraction to fetter and yoke what

resists, one thing I didn’t say, blistering in my

revenge dress on your sandstone doorstep, you

framed by light, the only time I ever saw you

look like the word surrender, I was tired of

being held in the fluid of things I could not


Amelia Theodorakis is a poet from Melbourne working on her debut collection. Her poems have appeared in Meanjin Quarterly, Australian Poetry Journal and Cordite Poetry Review, among others. Her poetry contains a deep regard for the landscapes of love, grief and self-renewal. You can find her on Instagram: @amthe_

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