Fleur Beaupert

Our bodies are not crime scenes

Every morning
       ‘I want the President’ to answer the invitation—
              not crime but aftermath of statistics laws colonised language

I babble in aching logics, curling
       watchful onlookers
              into microselves. My rage writes      Nudity’s script

soothes tired habits. A deregulated algorithm observes
       every precipice, kicking        words won’t cut it
              still I come to them        Flesh ushered

onto an upholstery train
        can only follow the Paddy Wagon
               of direction      ancient rhythms      humming their lines

Love is rejuvenated in spectral conspiracies
      against the woman’s protest. She consecrates every sin
            Naked passion postpones catharsis, is catharsis

Pulled out of the building, she swims strange backstroke
       through the camera’s gaze       reordering distress
             with the authority of an apocalypse

Reckoning maps around her ankles
      her movement an ablution

genderless strength, loosening along
      its equations. And in that dream my woman laughter wanders
              forever. She is narrative unmoored       throwing facts into the sea

Morning spills out      infecting neighbouring villages
        I am just a schoolgirl      sampling
               the cave’s warm tang—clothes around my ankles—

And in that dream I fall but I keep moving. Her protest
       shapeshifts, slicing waves      alive to the body’s continual
              palimpsest      how it remembers backward      to an unmade choice

Note: Quoted text, including the title, comes from footage of a woman arrested after a protest in Pretoria: News24 YouTube.

Fleur is shown against a white background. Fleur has light brown skin and short dark hair. Fleur wears a jacket with notch lapels, all of a deep plum color.

Fleur Lyamuya Beaupert (she/they) is a queer Australian writer of Tanzanian and Anglo-Indian descent. Fleur’s poetry and prose have recently been published in Not Very Quiet, Speculative City, Rigorous, Social Alternatives, Scum and Meniscus. They work as a policy officer in disability advocacy.