By Zoe Kurland
Image: “Sea Salt,” by Charlotte Pierce, 2015.
That feeling of shame when you’re too fancy for the occasion
that “I am overdressed for this party, So much so that I can feel
the slick complications of my waist” feeling.
and the ways in which I’ve tapered
are crushing the cave where
why is Y a hook between legs why is X arms and legs
Clothes puddle at the foot of your bed.
an infinite stain shrinks, an anemone head
into dermal layers then fluid pools then
poof and cackle to melt
soft and wrinkled as
the wicked witch, I am
one more smudge
on your Ikea
Most things in me have a half life.
It began as a surmise on memory
but now it’s whatever goes inside.
yours or mine
Due to galactic fishing line,
a light-hook buried between blades,
her back lurched while
crunched over piano keys
as they pulled her from earth.
Slight convexity breeds
bodily complexity, smooth
as roundabout sound,
like storybook slope,
the tale behind the tale of
green quietly pushing back
into primary sky
as something small rolls and rots and does not
slip head dip low, back lingers,
body goes but for fingers,
clutching the toothy instrument
(which always grinned,
full-set at her touch)
The saucer hatch mouth cruds crusty.
With any luck, they’ll snag her for far,
sky-krill sipping, moon-man monkfish
In California, mouths dry quickly.
They are dumb and big and often open
to air, they hang ajar. My brother and I
sit outside, sear our skin on the metal furniture
cattle brand of floral tooling, tulips,
heat-pocked by the pear, etched on the chair.
It’s summertime, so it smells like bromide.
Outside, we chat about floaters. His are different
than mine. Our faces crack, unlace,
articulate pulsing light-shape.
With our twin tongues, we reject
language, stutter like sprinklers. The grass
will always green
on other’s side.
We fall silent, tip up towards the sky.
Eyes fall as the mouths do. Irises
burn as pupils bloom in tandem.
She pushes a rock up the hill,
gravity’s cruel cool
The smell of crushed grass when
the rock rolls, gathering green stain,
sun glancing off horned shoulders
of warm sweat salt.
She pushes a car up a hill,
gravity’s cruel cool,
The crack of crushed pebble and
slick smooth stick of
foot catching feeble in the pothole
fear drools warm in private places.
Chorus: “Oh to have been neutral on the freeway!”
It rains in Athens on ruins. Stones shine.
I jerk the car back into reverse, crunchy like the summer
I crushed mouse bones. The rat world’s mean goddess
fingering pieces of a rodent leg, of mortar memory,
beige blood. The pestle winces and her hand shoots forward.
This time a crunch like chewing, Athens on snack break,
betweens when chorus tip masks up to gorge.
Amongst her two-faced brethren, young mask flung about
I gulped hard and drifted within heaviness that sat still in me
where the engine quit.
Chorus: “we think —unless our age is cheating us— /that what you say is sensible and right”
hop on an urn.
When he spread his longs legs wide,
palm on both knee, cracking his bones
in my passenger seat.
A whine slipping against one another,
a gum white pulse in the joints,
as do two sweaty sternums.
This floating bone-tale! An anachronism in the mythic Grecian sea. Must be all the salt!
Look closer and taste as much as he lets you.
Again and again I hear the bones, the ones within shoulders like wings, drawn up in the Icarus way, eyes and mouth frozen wide as the throats of his creamy cotton osteo punch at gem-like glub.
Now put a seashell to your ear and I’ll tell you how I risked his bones which once tried to impress…
It rains on the ruins but the chorus is attentive.
Planning her freudian slips in advance,
she set out on foot.
armed with charming tales
(small things: about the sea,
lazy eyes, bruising violet, easy,
tins of tea, migration courses)
She believed if used correctly,
they were just as Trojan horses.
She aimed to be a sneak attack;
her birthday was 9/11
Walking up a hill for Fiona
the things have hardened wrong.
The resolve of ankles, the reason behind wrists,
trysts, veined long and dense,
A possessed palm, wise with
width, splitting out
reaches for tread,
clutches pearls instead.
Strange day at the luncheon,
her legs forgo their function.
The mother liked to collect empty ice cream cartons and use them to store leftovers. She liked to do this so she could say “would you like some ice cream?” only to lift the lid and reveal a cold piece of meat. She liked this joke very much and did it very often. They all stopped saying yes to the offer, knowing the tiresome end, but the mother chuckled to herself now and again.
Porcelain: A Field Guide
You will never look as bruised
as in the blur,
the bathroom mirror.
Again, correctly and with feeling, please.
You will never look as bruised as
in the third
floor bathroom mirror.
Do it twice and everything
tastes like a second coming.
Do it bent at the waist, down,
brace yourself to waste yourself
no, ooze yourself-
along a tile floor.
(pssst, look down!)
you’ll be the kid formerly known as “bread,”
now call her “denatured mush.”
Look in the mirror.
Softer purple pouches,
punch burst with vessels,
clasping their hands to break
towards the eyes, they’re plucking out
lashes by the pinching fistful
wasting good blood and lank hair and
Again, again, again!
I bend and
the whole thing smells
like the ham sandwich in your pocket:
sweaty on billows