Animals: “anguine” by Irteqa Khan



                keep a place for me once i reach
                                the forest self-serious molten processual

                                                 tonguing my anger, briefly animal

                if you look closely— the materials of this indelicacy
                                are infinitesimal: search intensity luring the heart,

                                                   not eyes, into longing working on lifting.

scaling (i) scrunching (ii) sidewinding (iii) sloughing (iv) shimmering (v)

                i’m in some palace entertaining fugitive gods—
                                call it primitive containment or a primal trial

                                                perhaps to prefer the hunger over the feast.

                how do i feel beautiful when i slither hideously
                                to my prayers tonight, my poems tomorrow

                                                 looking like something i always did,

with light from powers that be somewhere inside me.

                now there’s not much time left in the forest
                                my last night there-then/here-now i lean into

                                                private growth a biting one circling in

                secret from your venom the relief of
                                being discovered when i overfill

                                                as a tapestry of a thousand pivots.

About Irteqa Khan

Author photo of Irteqa Khan smiling while leaning against a tan stone wall.

Irteqa Khan (she/her) is a Muslim-Canadian poet of color. She holds an Honours degree in History and an MA in Political Studies from the University of Saskatchewan. Irteqa writes primarily about the psychospiritual, cultural, and linguistic gradations of diasporic living. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appears in literary journals such as L’Éphémère Review, The Brown Orient, Spring Magazine, Homology Lit, and Anomaly among others. Irteqa’s debut chapbook, rēza rēza, was published with Gap Riot Press in 2020.