Ben Berman Ghan

A Bird of Flesh and Futures

I take the knife and slice
Pieces of myself away and
Hand them to be scattered
Along tattered and uncertain timelines

Particles of my hair make a monkey
To chase dandelion seeds in summer
On four legs with tails and antenna twitching for the thrill of his absolution
His days are countless and rough, his mouth forms no words
His nights are absolution.

Peeling back skin, I reveal a monster
Soaked in papers and dripping anxieties and
Buried in oozing endless piles of flesh.
his chains slicked with work word-ink-slime,
filled with burning possibilities unfit for tentacle limbs

Once the heated blades dig the meat from the pits of my muscles,
pushing it reluctantly into the hot summer air:
into a creaking rot of sunken eyes and teeth,
who shambles away broken, boneless, tongueless, toothless,
caught in a rain of bright living things
his gaping mouth fills up with words for the others’ words
until drowning in empty citations.

At last as my possible prospects thin,
Having flayed away all other potentialities

my special scalpel reaches beyond
bloody organs and sinews to my bones clattering downwards,
What freedom it is to be peeled,
What freedom it is to be released into
Many creatures that cling
To the binary unions of not
Being and being.

From that mess my bones carve
opening and furling into an alien alabaster kestrel
clicking wisdoms as it takes its perch above the stage,
grabbing all sharp angles to become its talons
so there are no more knives to make cuts

And into its beak drains all the mindless foxes and decrepit creatures and octopus dreams,
Its throat crushing those possible creature worlds as it swallows everything down

Until
That bird
Full of flesh
And futures

Is ready to bring sharp claws
Into the crook of its belly
And unhook my many-spliced selves
From its guts

To send me splattering out to one

world, fused and stinking and
All pressed together
To face the many headed
Single hybrid me


Ben Berman Ghan is a Jewish Settler, writer, editor, and scholar based in Tkaronto/Toronto, site of Treaty 13 and Williams Treaty territory, His non-fiction has been published in the likes of Empty Mirror Books, Augur Magazine, and Strange Horizons, and his fiction has appeared The Temz Review and The Sweet Tree Review, and his poetry in The UC Review and The Trinity Review. His novel What We See in the Smoke was published in 2019 by Crowsnest Books. You can find him @inkstainedwreck or inkstainedwreck.ca