EMERGING ARTISTS & WRITERS: SARAH ANG & EMMA CAMP
Water laps at the carcass of the white whale,
As it lies half in, half out of the ice,
Mouth agape in a final cry.
Inuit knowledge tells you this whale is sacred,
that its death gives the tribe life;
National Geographic tells you belugas live in pods,
use echolocation to hunt,
are ‘near threatened’ on the conservation list.
The whole tribe has come out to gaze
at this gift from the gods.
The hunters swagger back to their families,
Blood stained and exhausted - but triumphant.
Your father steps into the circle
That has unconsciously formed,
Lifts up a single finger.
The chattering falls silent.
He walks up to the whale,
Stares into its eyes.
He whispers, and the tribe echoes after him,
Thank you for your life.
A hunter pulls out the harpoon from the whale’s back,
Red blood spills onto white ice.
The feast begins.
A whale like this will last the entire tribe for months;
Whale meat to feed the tribe,
Whale fat to warm the tribe,
Whale skin to clothe the tribe,
No part goes to waste.
Later, the remnants will go
To underground ice cellars,
Remaining there long after
Science tells you how this works,
Permafrost temperatures keep the meat cold until consumption.
Now, the Inuit sing and dance,
While children scramble over the whale’s body.
Only you linger in the shadows,
Your father watches you from the corner of his eye.
You don’t know it,
But he says a prayer to the gods
every night after you leave again,
Praying that you will embrace the ways of the tribe,
Praying that even after you graduate from your American school,
Even after there are no more summer holidays,
You will return.
You sneak out into the darkness
While your father is asleep.
Outside, the Arctic ice glistens,
An endless expanse of white.
All that is left of the whale
Are its bones.
In my family, we let women do the butchering.
Train them up grapple at every thorax:
keep house pinned at soft flesh.
Strangle for unclean curls of meat.
I have learned to paint myself like Diana.
Kneading guts to slice up.
Sometimes I wonder how long I can make flesh keep.
A slab of musclegirl in an icebox:
carve away at her pricking ribs,
scrape fingernails down her puckered thighs.
Gorge out every fiber of meat from a body and call it food.
Sarah Ang is a seventeen-year old student residing in the city-state of Singapore. A professional daydreamer, she often spends time staring off into the distance at nothing in particular. For her, writing is a way to transcribe these reveries into rational thought. Her work has been featured in publications such as Litro Magazine, The Claremont Review, Page & Spine, Cultured Vultures and the Dangerous Women Project by the University of Edinburgh.
Emma Camp is a seventeen-year-old poet from Birmingham, Alabama. Her work has been featured in or is forthcoming in Moledro Magazine, SugarRascals, Al.com, Rookie, The Blue Marble Review, Venus Magazine, Hermeneutic Chaos Journal, and Glass Kite Anthology. Her work has also been honored by Hollins University, Gannon University, The Alabama Writers Forum, and the Jane Lumely Prize.