Belly of the Beast
Let’s live in the belly of the beast.
You can bring a strong IPA
so smooth it’s like milk frothed.
I’ll bring Atwood and Ishiguro and Dickens.
We’ll watch Netflix in the blood vessels
and make love in the open mouth
with the krill and saltwater
pooling at our knees.
Let’s grow old in the intestines,
play hide and seek in the heart.
There’s nothing to stop us.
We could watch worlds go by
through the membrane,
seas of coral
and the craggy depths
Holly Lyn Walrath‘s poetry and short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Liminality, and elsewhere. She is the author of the Elgin Award-nominated chapbook Glimmerglass Girl (Finishing Line Press, 2018). She holds a B.A. in English from The University of Texas and a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. You can find her canoeing the bayou in Houston, Texas, on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath, or at www.hlwalrath.com.
Holly Lyn Walrath
Author of “Belly of the Beast”
1) What inspired you to write this poem?
This poem is kind of a weird conglomeration of the things I enjoy doing with my spouse. I’m not sure how we ended up in a cetacean monster, I think I was fantasizing about the idea of our house as a living thing. I am reminded of Amelia Gray’s story House Heart (https://longreads.com/2015/04/13/house-heart/), a captivating and equally disturbing story which may have influenced this piece.
2) What do you hope readers take from this poem?
I’ve noticed that I sometimes write poems about the idea of escape, but more specifically of couples finding ways to “live on a prayer” outside of reality. This probably comes from my years as a broke young person living in crappy apartments and dorm rooms, always moving, always feeling like we would never find the right place where we could be accepted. I guess I’d like readers to know that wherever you find the euphoria of love, that doesn’t diminish the beauty of being together.
3) To give other writers hope, would you mind sharing with us how many edits and/or submissions this poem has been through?
I’m not sure how many drafts this went through but I do know that I first wrote it in 2015. It was rejected 6 times before publication.
4) Recommend something to us! This could be a book, a short story, a video game, a project you’ve heard about, something you’re working on, etc. Anything that has you excited and that you want people to know about.
I’m currently playing Gris (https://medium.com/interstellar-flight-press/indie-games-and-accessibility-a-personal-odyssey-a5dc96f97396), a beautiful, artsy indie game that’s a bit meditation, a bit puzzles. I’m really into indie games on Steam. I’m also playing Mario Kart Tour and I recently re-downloaded Pokemon Go and have been exchanging gifts with friends from Japan, which is pretty cool because you get to see where people live from afar.