Octavia Poets Respond to Adelaide Ivánova

To celebrate the launch of Adelaide Ivánova's the hammer and other poems we have commissioned Theresa Lola, Jade Cuttle and Destiny Adeyemi to write a poem responding to Adelaide's work. We asked each of the poets to use Rachel Long and Francisco Vilhena's translation of 'the elephant' as a catalyst for a new work of their own. These poems were first performed at Free Word at our 'guerrilla bitchcraft' event.

Destiny, Jade and Theresa are members of Octavia, a poetry collective for womxn of colour founded by Rachel Long in response to the lack of inclusivity and representation in literature and academia.

‘the egg’
after ‘the elephant’ by Adelaide Ivánova

at the time of her death i was twenty three years
and nine months old thumbs pressed into pockets
i broke my body against the bowl and poured
it all out the sticky mess of self and memory
clinging onto the sad wet dress of its shell
i pulled myself apart hoping to crack my way out
and straight away you were there cupping your hands
for the catch but we escaped like always
splashing the sides and up the kitchen walls
licked by eager tongues even though we were off
and must have turned your stomach against itself
in a frenzied state of curdle
small bones are not made of honey
we don’t build them up to drizzle your dreams
suck them dry you’ll see how strong we are
breaking teeth with brittle defiance
the world is a horror the body is made of egg
and i wake up with a sticky trail on my pillow
each time i think of her

Jade Cuttle

Unforced Error

Michael's volley is absolutely incredible,
His backhand shot glided past me.
If I had been there, I couldn't have caught it.
I keep missing, my minds' encased in felt
my wife won't let me enter
if i had been there
Manifestations of wealth weren't important,
it made johanna happy
i would see her giggling on the sidelines
yelling 'deuce' and 'error'
if I had been there
my wife went strolling, eyes pinned forward
lugging her memories along
deterioration of health didn't matter
she persisted and i followed
if I had covered the pool
like she asked
so instead i called on to her and she looked at me her eyes expansive glazed
buttons waiting confused waiting confused she held her plush and screaming to her
becoming a saddening task of reminders

If i had been there

Destiny Adeyemi

Theresa Lola