Friday 5 May 2023

3 Poems by K.S.Y. Varnam


for reading my poetry:

do not assume
that you is singular

we is constant

the is only.

soft can be hard;

curves can be sharp.

love blooms in all seasons
and kisses the thorns.


Intermittent night voices

knit with unmoving limbs

skin to skin, the thin space

between skeletons


where hearts nest

beating calm

against death.

I remember glass jars

in blue-grey light,

a concrete floor, a room


the jars for preserves.

I imagine standing barefoot

in my grandparents’ cellar room.

This is mortality, to touch

an empty jar

and watch the warm imprint

recede into itself.

When you are dead,

your bones will not know

their own shapes.

You’ll never know

your stripped self.


Prayer filled fear like warm wine, rich

with the full-bodied flavour of faith.

Now bottles run dry

and thoughts turn sour.

Washing dishes, fingers slip:

a long open vein in a glass.

Skin snags on shards;

vinegar stings chewed lips.

I try to refine my palate, to know

what flawed paradigms taste like

—perhaps slightly too sweet,

with an aftertaste of salt and iron.

I still bite.


K.S.Y. Varnam is a queer, neurodivergent, and disabled Toronto-based writer, artist, and editor, as well as the founder of The Quilliad Press. They share a bedroom with two mischievous parrots, Riff Raff and Mr. Wobbles. Their work has been published by several journals, including Hamilton Arts & Letters, Metatron, The Quarterday Review, Breath and Shadow, CRUSH, and Transition Magazine.

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