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Posthumously, Gwen John

by Davinia Hamilton

the word posthumous 
does not mean after death
from the latin— 
meaning after
and humus 
meaning the earth
—it confirms that desert 
after this minor shock of life when
the earth changes mouth for mud.
i am surrounded by august men
all strut all temper
the world loves an open palm.
one called me melopomene
said the word Love
love, i replied
and found that iron word
wrote the latch on a door
flesh and stone
who can tell the difference
both belong to the soil
what is real
cannot be captured in a sitting
it is a composite
like the posthumous body
it is always becoming.
nor can it be loved from a distance. 
one must begin by painting the subject
and carry on painting the subject
until the lines are blurred:
between the light and the shadow
green and yellow
between the skin and the air
subject and paint
falls the shadow.
i painted the way i loved
to gesture at this
that whatever you paint
you are painting yourself
whatever you love

Davinia Hamilton is a multilingual theatre-maker, performer, and poet, particularly interested in the intersection between theatre and activism. She has performed her written and devised work in several UK theatres, and is a founding member of Firetree, a feminist collective of theatre artists with whom she is currently working on Disappearing Women – an international project that combines academic research, consciousness-raising, community-building and devised theatre. She holds a M.Sc. in Digital Media and a MA in Acting. Originally from Malta, she lives in London with her cat, Kali.

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May 2019

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