Liquorice Woman

by Angie Spoto

I am a liquorice woman 
a fennel creature 
a saffron thing that doesn’t care 
for your opinions or your thoughts on the matter 
or your advice to me because I’m not asking 
I’m just here reading 
and that doesn’t mean I want to talk 
it doesn’t mean I want you in my ear 
or your fingernail running rogue 
across the grains here 
at the table in this low-lit 
pub where 
let me repeat myself 
I’m just reading 
reading by myself here 
and running a grain of fennel 
around my teeth 
crushing it between molars 
and flicking it across my 
two incisors and telling you again 
look I’m just reading. 

Did you know 
I’m a liquorice woman? 
I’m a pepper thing 
I’m a girl with cardamom 
stuck between her teeth 
and let me say this one more time: 

Angie Spoto is an American fiction writer and poet. Writers who inspire her include Angela Carter, Leonora Carrington, and Ursula Le Guin. Her most recent endeavours include a lyrical essay about her Italian family, a collection of horror surrealist fairy tales, and a fantasy novel about grief. She is working toward a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow and volunteers with the Glasgow-based social enterprise Uncovered Artistry, which supports the creativity of domestic and sexual abuse survivors. She is Artist in Residence at HIV Scotland. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Crooked Holster, From Glasgow to Saturn, and Toad Suck Review.

This poem was first published in Issue 38, the rest of which can be read in our archive.