Noah Swinney is a South African musician, writer and poet. As a Babette Taute Scholar
and winner of the 2018 Konstantin Sofianos Scholarship, he took his BA Hons in English
Literature at UCT with distinction. He has been accepted to the M.Phill in Irish Writing at
Trinity College Dublin for 2019/20, and is currently working on his first collection of poetry.
His poetry has been published by South African journals, Aerodrome and New Contrast.

A Shore-Line Resort

I know the crack of carapace; the sounds
of beetle daughters who crepitate the earth
is much like the noise of magnets. They sent
me my trestle-table once, lit green by a matric gown.
Then there was the thrill I found in magnifying death:
the whip was ceramic it whispered in your hand,

but the steam was strange it seemed some fisher king
with grey hair floating dull against pixels
of beaded bodies glitching in the sand,
where rabbit bones lie pierced on the shore.
We lay there taking turns to look through the hole
in a bone at the world we had built for you:

a kingdom of sand blasted to a hole;
a shore-line resort the pixels tore for you.

She Returns to the Milkwoods

She broke her words open on a Kommetjie rock
then drank the citation like an oystercatcher.
And from head to throat
she grew the feathers of birds
and oiled her eyes
with the names she found there:
'I' — 'finger' —
'silence' — 'word' —

names that felt like ferns — like something soft
growing inside of her, and she read aloud —
'right here, you see — I finger
the silence of my words'
'I grease the laconic to a gleaming patina
of thought ... like ... like ligaments — no! Not bloody
ligaments!' she exclaimed,
'like fingers tapping a page ... or
rather like a path — a way through

'the milkwoods humming with bones
tied with bright ribbons to the branches.'
Finally satisfied, she stood
listening to the hollow sound
of meaning as the bones knocked
together in the sun.

Of Skin

Predicates poured from her
but always whiteveined and trying
to arrive; never to mouth the fall

of skin — isthmus and asymptote —
that found its own hyperbole as subject
of much talk in that seaside townlet.

We stayed the weekend
flooding ourselves with words
that seemed to mean something

at breakfast: our riparian meals
with gulls, hidden from symbols
and the rest of the gerund gang.

I spoke, breath-turning another
phrase with another abdjective
hooked to the end of my line.

Casting off from her colour,
from her piscine peninsulate,
I sought her mouthing blood

once more breathing like a jackal.

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