excerpt from Hell Light Flesh by Klara du Plessis

Poem title: excerpt from Hell Light Flesh Poet name: Klara du Plessis Poem: My footsteps cast shadows climbing. I can feel his eyes on my back, uncertain if he’s turned away. It feels like he’s staring at me, but I can’t be sure, can’t look back. My back is a slow, vertiginous fall, dilated pupils, heavy breathing. Upward mobility means each step away  brings me closer to discipline. Upstairs is shorthand for the world is upside down, sometimes heaven gets bored of having the upper hand,  I screwed up, no fun at all. The stairs creak far more than usual. I know now that he’s still looking at me. I know now that I climb so slow he’s turned into the kitchen a thousand years ago—cooling down,  brooding, the tabletop is an entire landscape.  My back is turned away from my father, but not in a posture of defiance. Measure authority in unfortunate turns of events. Follow directives exactly, walk straight, then turn left up the stairs, touch the banister to illustrate normality,  carry myself upwards, open armed to hold myself ascending. End of Poem.  Credits: Copyright © Klara du Plessis Published in Hell Light Flesh, Palimpsest Press, 2020.  Winner of the 2019 Pat Lowther Memorial Award and shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, Klara du Plessis’ debut collection, Ekke, was published to critical acclaim. Also the author of Unfurl from Gaspereau Press, her newest book is Hell Light Flesh, released Fall 2020 from Palimpsest Press. Klara is a PhD English Literature candidate at Concordia University, a researcher for SpokenWeb, and currently expanding her curatorial practice to include experimental Deep Curation poetry reading events, an approach which places poets’ work in deliberate dialogue with each other and heightens the curator’s agency toward the poetic product. In this capacity, she feels fortunate to work with innovative poets such as Oana Avasilichioaei, Margaret Christakos, Liz Howard, and Kaie Kellough, among others. She has recently been nominated for the Leon E. and Ann M. Pavlick Poetry Prize for contributions to the Canadian literary community, and is currently working on a video-poem in collaboration with Qirou Yang for Le Festival de la Poésie de Montréal, among other projects. Klara writes in English, Afrikaans, and translingually, and lives in Montreal.