“I swim to shore every day”—Elizabeth Willis
I drift through dirt like a minty tooth. A schooner loose on the eyelid shedding iambs. Where hints of birch burst open I wince at the deadpan panic.
I’m devising a device that detects. It’s a feeling. The leaf I’ll catch before it slaps the grass. “The movement by which air is made to enter the lungs.” Made to?
Teething cumulous. Harmonics sprint along my side of the frequent daydream to dissuade those who stand so still for inclusion. Blasphemy an impossible draft. A face flanked by doubt & the curved interlocutor. Leafbound. Lying in the back of a pickup truck I curate clouds. Drop the guardrails, ferocious fluoride!
Who can pay attention the longest? So many songs come from the shower. Laminate leaves or clean out the drain, the grapes, the fury of its avenging families. Flies cling to memory like a cenotaph. Say aaaaah. Say ache.
Vesselling. I rip the fingers off my glove. To ply & to plaything. The sweeping sound of a bookcase push. Burning ballasts start like a rucksack levitating plums. End like an unstable current. My contrails. They streak in the language of whiteout that contributes without correction, leaks out & then quickly disappears. Shallots of disappointment.
Look up anyways: the afterhours of stars. It’s a matter of what we want to sustain. Shape or sharp or hints of music in the sand. Fractal feelings to tendril.
Vigilant curiosity. A request without curtsy. Trochees clean the gums of worn-out brine & bristle. Ashing into attention. Horizon as anyface, air-pocked by syllable. I don’t want to miss. This flight.
Look at a painting, damnit, look at a word: translation, the only enactment. Bilge or buoy, it will be godless. It will flip an image into feeling. The coquettish twins of relief & release.
“The movement by which air is expelled from the lungs.” Which air? The non-lived coming to life uncontained by beauty. Leaf-splatter & my asphalt oven.
Is there something I cannot doubt? Is it debatable? A detour? Dirt? Floss or lean on your fist to prop up the face vigilant with weather. Restoration of the apparently drowned. The bathrobe’s not alive but slumps whitely in the last place I clung. Something like short history I shore to feeling. An act that uncovers the shell pulped of my bloody sound.
Hold an ache. Smoke out the stutter for a honey-ride of sound. Briny book. Hold my ache, my stormy, my lamp-tooth, release my—
I act upon the air, I act upon the feeling. I’m a time capsule rustling in relief. Like the fractal shore, remain unmeasured.
Julia Cohen is the author of two poetry books, Collateral Light (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013) and Triggermoon Triggermoon (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), and one forthcoming collection of nonfiction, I Was Not Born (Noemi Press, 2014). Her work appears in journals like DIAGRAM, New American Writing, Banango Street, and jubilat. She just moved to Chicago.