FICTION: We Opened Up So Quickly

After F.L.

we opened up so quickly like cracked shells — spilling out, spilling out. no. that’s wrong. i’m the cracked shell — that albumen spills out of, a crack that an oyster would trickle out of; that blood haemorrhages out of,

every fucking month. i am that blood. i am all over the place. splattered on the walls, like fucking murder. entrails on the floor.

that’s me — but i am fine like that. i am not asking to be put back together. i am not asking you to help me. i ask only that you not judge me.

don’t say: ‘You’re a fucking mess’.

don’t say: ‘You’re obsessive’.

don’t say: ‘You need help’ (but i think you do need help. i’m not judging you though. o wait i think i am & that’s fucked of me, so soz).

some of us feel all the things, all at the same time — crowd-surfing, i told my mate.

it’ s called crowd-surfing except it’s with the fucking universe, you get me?

the yoo-ni-fucking-verse. i feel you. you get me? i feel each & every one of you.

no, don’t. come. near. me. i feel you. only come near me, if you want that.

& then once i feel you, i can’t give it back. i have to hold yours for a while. i have to admire it. i have to cry with it.

i have to separate the strands of my feels vs your feels. you get me? because i can’t actually (this vessel) cannot hold all the feels… of the yoo ni verse… it makes me sick. it makes me nauseous. please. don’t. come. near.

we opened up so quickly, once we opened, like two clams falling in love (no, that’s not accurate- but it also is. essential duality. you get me? like a film speeded up & then not… real time Vs. what is).

two clams lay on the sand, facing each other. these are shy, fearful creatures. they do not warm up for a while. 4/9ths of a year passes. then one opens up a tiny crack. the natural hinges of the shell, make a sound like a creaking cabinet except so much more musical, like the finest of very fine shell lined with mother of pearl. a high sound. 


then 5/9ths of a month later, the other opens. slightly less.


one though, one of them has a crack.

oozes, a steady stream.

the other opens — spurts a savage emission- then closes, tight. shut. so shut.

the other oozes. ‘Please open. Please have some. I can’t contain myself.’

‘I can’t feel at all. I cannot take what you have. I cannot open.’

Sascha Aurora Akhtar is a poet of the liminal; a performer with a background in Butoh, Music, Film & Photography. To Saschaall is magic and she spends a great deal of time talking about this with her students, mentees & audiences at universities, centres for poetry & performance spaces. Sascha has been published by Salt UK, Shearsman UK, Contraband UK, Emma Press, Knives, Forks & Spoons Press & ZimZalla UK; she has six collections of poetry available. Her first book of translations is upcoming with Oxford University Press, India in 2020 and her first fiction collection is to be published in Autumn 2020 with The 87 Press. She works with energy in all things, especially poetry & considers herself a "Pakistani-British-American": all these things are reflected in her work. She has been writing and performing internationally for two decades. All upcoming performance and teaching engagements are listed on her author page. Poems For Eliot from the book #LoveLikeBlood was named the number one poem of the last five years in Poetry Wales in the summer of 2019. She is the recipient of #DYCP grant from the Arts Council England.

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