The Amorous Cannibal

By Chris Wallace-Crabbe b. 1934 Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Suppose I were to eat you
I should probably begin
with the fingers, the cheeks and the breasts
yet all of you would tempt me,
so powerfully spicy
as to discompose my choice.
While I gobbled you up
delicacy by tidbit
I should lay the little bones
ever so gently round my plate
and caress the bigger bones
like ivory talismans.
When I had quite devoured the edible you
(your tongue informing my voice-box)
I would wake in the groin of night
to feel, ever so slowly,
your plangent, ravishing ghost
munching my fingers and toes.
Here, with an awkward, delicate gesture
someone slides out his heart
and offers it on a spoon,
garnished with adjectives.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe, "The Amorous Cannibal" text from The Amorous Cannibal. Oxford University Press, 1985: audio from The Domestic Sublime, Audio CD, River Road Press, 2009: by permission of River Road Press and the poet. Copyright © 1985, 2009 by Chris Wallace-Crabbe.

Source: The Amorous Cannibal (Oxford University Press, 1985)

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Poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe b. 1934

POET’S REGION Australia and Pacific

Subjects The Body, Desire, Eating & Drinking, Men & Women

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Chris  Wallace-Crabbe


Born in Melbourne, Australian poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe is the son of a pianist and a journalist. He earned a BA at Melbourne University and attended Yale University. Wallace-Crabbe’s wry yet expansive poems mix high and low diction to sometimes startling effect. In the Times Literary Supplement, critic Eric Ormsby referred to Wallace-Crabbe as “a genial smuggler of surprises,” noting, “His uncommon affability, even when . . .

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Poems by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT The Body, Desire, Eating & Drinking, Men & Women

POET’S REGION Australia and Pacific

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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