The World by Tawanda Mulalu

after Jostein Gaarder


This morning the kitchen is problematic.
Every burner on the stove is a capitalist.
I want to sucker punch the Honey Nut
Cheerios but the chapel echoes. Instead
I invent a new pornography: it is soft
embarrassing and difficult. New gestures
are required to teach it. But for myself
every crucial fingering invites mothballs
from behind a Buddha. What comes first,
moth eggs or the statue inviting them?
You knew, but I swallowed you yesterday
with my palm. Sometimes I hear myself
suckling your toes, making oceans. O
tides, render me gently— desire cannot
make the world. Pure logic says this egg-
soaked bread frying here now is not
a paradox. Because past implies future:
the same egg to crack to soak to fry.
To mother me. And so Darwin purges
toast from his south of France (his anus:
I climb inside it in a dream). More grist
to mill, so Vaseline— hold me gentler
as silicon Epicureans garden on Mars,
quarter tubers on lunar plains… Whose
radishes ravish your teeth tonight?
You are too latent inside this spaceship,
exhausts gurgling like open balloons—
and I am air. How you will hear me
whistling while my mind jogs and
orbits Saturn’s rings, my palm burning
on my stovetop. The world does not
require you. It is busy and Buddhas you
into bad theories and my heels cannot
cynic for much longer. Plymouth looms
over Pluto. Someone’s skin shivers.
But it’s quarter to seven before light
reaches out, says, The question is how
the first molecule arose. No God accounts
for someone’s knowing it takes seven days
before our Earth says, with great feeling,
I just don’t want to be with you anymore.


Tawanda Mulalu was born in Gaborone, Botswana. He is the author of the chapbook Nearness, forthcoming from The New Delta Review and is an inaugural member of the Brooklyn Poets Mentorship Program. He has also served as a Ledecky Fellow for Harvard Magazine and the first Diversity and Inclusion Chair of The Harvard Advocate. His poems are published or forthcoming in Lana Turner, The Denver Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, Salt Hill Journal and elsewhere. He mains Ken in Street Fighter.