As a child, I had a fear of spiders.
They scuttled, harmless, across hardwood floors,
waited in dark corners,
contaminated my skin on summer days in fields.
I flung myself from them, repelled them.
There was a moment when I grew older, I was walking past the rosemary bushes, I felt myself sprout
four extra limbs, flailing them about in the air.
I was becoming them.
It felt strangely powerful.
Now I lie in bed with my four extra limbs, dozing, staring into my new pair of eyes, all bundled up
and realising that, actually, spiders aren’t that scary after all.
He made my soul feel material, fleshy.
I am pink salmon, flayed and open.
I have come to realise that the walls I have put up
are not made of brick or air or even reinforced steel but instead skin,
stretched taut and wide,
built layer upon layer.
The skin is my body’s largest organ - waterproof.
the eclipse is an overshadow that feels like a break,
an abandonment by a great protector,
the light that guides lost wanderers in the night.
we tousled together in our single bed,
womb-like, incubating the
bitter venom that would birth in the morning
I did not prepare for the eclipse.
I did not do my rituals.
I have been poisoned and I want someone to
suck the venom out.
Zainab Athumani is a Kenyan/Italian writer and director living in Cambridge, England. She has produced plays at the Edinburgh Fringe and most recently directed a performance of Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit. You can find links to her work through her Twitter, @ZainabAthumani