Janina Aza Karpinska is an Artist-Poet with an M.A. In Creative Writing & Personal Development from Sussex University, England. She won 1st prize in the Cannon Poets Poetry Competition; has work published in several anthologies incl. Museum Tales 2 & 3, on artefacts in Brighton Art Museum-Gallery; Poetry in the Waiting Room; Write from the Heart: Home, on the theme of exile; and many magazines incl. Psychopoetica; The Third Way; Literary Mama; Here Comes Everyone, and one forthcoming in Willawaw Journal.
THEORY OF EVOLUTION
He gave me a backbone of stone
as I lay on a beach in Hove.
He focussed a lot on spines back then,
in paintings and constructions,
and now these discs and vertebrae
arranged with scrupulous care,
creating a track of knuckled pebbles
on the curves of my naked back,
making me look like a species of dinosaur.
Was it to meet a need of his own?
To form an illusion of support and connection?
An undulating ripple of art and design?
Or, to supply that which I lacked before then?
Applied and ‘absorbed’ through skin
like a vitamin supplement – to be taken
lying down – in submission, even,
knowing the time would come when
I’d get to my feet, and move on.
We walk under an oil-slick sky in gabardine macs,
shouldering a headwind like seasoned rugby players,
inching along lines of exhausted seaweed
searching for treasure.
I find a whip of a fish: a stiff cord of muscle
the colour of unbleached linen. He finds
a teaspoon from Virgin Atlantic – embedded in sand.
I marvel at the marbled skin of a headless dogfish,
which, he tells me, is a kind of shark.
I run a finger – tail-ward along firm flesh, but
trying to reverse the move, I’m gripped by tiny cells,
astonished at such a feat of paralysis. Is it like
that between us? Is there no going back?
And then we stumble across the unlikely fruit
of a coconut; a footnote from Paradise, perhaps.