Gorge — and something catches

Soraya Peerbaye
Tell: poems for a girlhood

A suite of poems about the murder of Reena Virk.

Gorge refers to the waterway where her body was found. The poet also makes it reverberate with the maternal tongue throughout but with particular emphasis in the section called “À pleine gorge”. The section opens with “Gorge Waterway” which opens “The word that in my mother tongue means throat — / gorge — here, // a glacier-carved passage; the sea, brash, / moving inland, toward” and the throat comes to the fore in the poem that gives its name to the section (“À pleine gorge”).

As though they wanted to gorge her most of all.


Throated, having a throat of a specified characteristic. Bruant à gorge noire, black-throated sparrow,
        gorgebleu à miroir, bluethroat flycatcher.

Rire, pleurer, chanter à pleine gorge. Full-throated laughter, cry,

We are left in the last poem of the book to ponder “gorgeous” in a passage about finding the appropriate commemoration.

I want to lay down flowers, but it feels intrusive;
instead I walk across the bridge and count my steps.
Downstream, a cormorant dives; I follow it
in mind, a pendant yanked, bubbles a strand of pearls
loosened and scattered. Gorgeous, from the Old French
for throat, for a stone that adorns the throat.

And something catches… à la gorge.

And so for day 2711

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