Question & Answer 2 – Zoë Brigley

Question 2

I lived many years as woodworm, Zoë,
on my back during those silent
summer night, burrowing into a bottle
of Whyte and Mackay – Xestobium

Past tense.

I hid through fear of the impending death
of other’s conversations, as I rounded
on them with tales of 12 year old
suicide attempts, and AMS 2/3, again
and again.

Past bedtime.

Like a broken record. Do you feel yourself
repeat? I found other broken pandas
begging for rain, and stifled that
death-watch tick. Still clear in words, but

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

Here’s a story – not
mine – about a woman out West, not the American West as it is
now, but a place without time. Long ago, she took

off her dress, and now she wears a belt and boots, faces
the men round the campfire. Like Claudia Cardinale
in a film I once saw: Nothing you can do to me, nothing

that won’t wash off with soap and water. A man
watching helpless: one man who cares
but does nothing. Another is behind her,

encircling with one arm, and the other
stabs, slices her open from sternum
to navel. She gasps, but within

the wound are only wires, pistons,
circuitboard. Did you see it too? The moment
that told us what violation meant: forced
to look, and see only flesh.

– Zoë Brigley


Question & Answer 3 – Zoë Brigley

Question 1

Worms rest on ear drums,
the joy of vibration rings through the neck.
Tear the nerves from the back of my skull –
Occipital Neuralgia –
the pain of somebody stabbing
my head with an electrified fork.
Does your history tear through your present?
My past begins at the core of my spine,
shakes my bones, rips into my cranium.
I take a second to levitate
from the stress of this agony.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

Did I ever tell the story
of the dresser I bought at goodwill? How I took

it home to paint the color
of a pale green egg? And when I pulled

out the drawer, its side was spotted with what turned
out to be holes, burrows of a tiny woodworm. I found

out what I could, and learned with surprise
that the holes were not entrances

but exits. The mother woodworm beetle laid
her eggs in the gluey cracks of drawers, until

eggs swelled to orbs, grew legs and a hard
shell, and ate their way

out through the wood. I am telling you now,
because each small pain

is a grub, and I’ll wait for the Spring to see
if they set themselves free.

– Zoë Brigley