I feel around for the mouth (somewhere) on head of my poem and my hands stain with ink. It’s a wound above the wound; a mouth above the cut. The mouth is a passage through which the body of the letter travels in and out of so that there can be a learning of the heart. In ‘Spacings’, the mouth is studied, situated in relation to Jean-Luc Nancy. The spaces around the words of the text overlap with the spacings of the mouth. It is sensual, lies ‘between the lips and at the other’s breasts’ and is an intimate space. I speak to the you of the poem which is wanting to be you and wanting to occupy that space between the lips. To be close to the physical moment of addressing. The tongue between the teeth.

Here lies the point, the twist of the knife. I put my finger in the poem's limp mouth. I return here, but slightly different. A poem “is beyond the body, sex, mouth, and eyes; it erases borders…” and yet it lingers at these margins. Like a word that hasn’t quite left the mouth.

‘The mouth is at the same time place and non-place, it is the locus of a dis-location, the gaping place…’

In depending on the mouth, the recitation of the poem is caught in its ambivalence. It is there and it isn’t there. The poem is spoken and so at the same time exists and doesn’t exist. This is because the mouth is a channel, a point at which objects move through from one space to another. Never the destination. The vocalization of the poem erases boundaries and yet depends on them for its very existence. It must be learnt through the mouth to seal it off.

‘Let us go then, you and I,’ 

This time I am the ventriloquist. Throwing my voice into the head of this saint, I repeat these words now. I repeat them every time I edit this piece. I repeat them with every return through time.

Let: the tongue grazes the roof of the mouth
Us: teeth held together in prayer, the spirit passes through
Go: the smallest of a circles
Then: withdrawal of flesh quick like wine it
You: reaches out
And: returns again
I: to us

There is always the I and the other. The you and the I. I want to take the you into me, but it must remain outside. ‘I love because the other is the other, because its time will never be mine’. I want the poem because it is the other and despite trying to take it inside of me it will always endure as the other. Even with each learning of a poem, re-learning the heart and re-tracing, always it remains other.


Nick Ines Ward is a poet based based in Norwich. Their work has been published by Salo Press, Spam Zine, Pilot Press, Adriatic Magazine, Despair Summer Quarterly 2021 and Sticky Fingers Press.


They post on Instagram as @sonnet_youprick