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A Poem by Laurel Uziell

by Laurel Uziell
November 8th, 2017

 

The amount of brain in the bone

Sometimes entirely visible things are obscured;
you open the window and body parts fly out,
or fly in, there is a trauma that glows well be-

yond its article. From here to the other one, you
can see how each movement is its own still-
ness, I tick none in every box on every form

and try to catch some of the glory of that mom-
ent, time will come the same way it goes, out
the bottom of a broken back or in a pin.

It may be obvious, but in every box or coat I touch
I feel a hundred people, and they flicker back as
shadows and as magnitudes, like something

not in law but of it, the way that any one of you
assumes I understand a single word of what
you say, and I reply by doing something else.

The pronoun has been thrown across the room;
everything takes place in this house, though
this house never had any walls that weren’t

stolen from the air, I picks you up again, you cou-
ghs up a worldly dust, that’s how I see myself.
However you are here, run between loves,

love between hours, and something sits on every
moment, a glass stain on your eyeball, dimly, as
a shudder makes a resonance. How to collab-

orate with the dead but not to pick the teeth of
corpses; today we will expand beyond the princ-
iple, throwing gravel in the wind to measure the

curvature of the road. Time left behind to eco-
nomics, as if it could be anywhere else, but
the land is strangely absent from the quest-

ion of the feet, the floor too scattered with app-
endages, and anyway, the outer layer sinks
straight back in, things contained without

containers. A penny speaking of its own weight
forgets to read the clock face, can only mea-
sure the hours that make a century by it-

self. Have you ever traded your own name for a
cloak of security, a broken unanimity and re-
cession into something more?  The skin is

just as much a mask as any social process, and to
carve into its surface means to change the form,
renew the stinging clarity of the present, marked

and stretched. But I cannot love whoever gave
these minerals to the things outside my body,
and yet I don’t believe that as necessity, you

walk ahead, are threatened, and turn back. A
daily eclipse accelerates into a strobe, and all
our movements are slowed down, the backward

glance becomes impossible. One swaps for the
other for the other, accumulates a mass of titles
and collapses, this repeats. A series of motions

that runs on light and carbon, drenched in tar and
whitewash, it gets named through little accidents
of vision. The landscape has spilled all over the

floor, we made a promise not to let each other slip
but my hands are bruised and something has been
set in place. We have evacuated the category for

something to come flooding in, we goes away,
comes back as less than one. Do not try to gather
all these parts unless you know that they will

crumble as you try to mould them, fractured to
a finer belonging, sand in all the cracks, laid
down in the plenum touching through clothes.


Poems selected by Sophie Robinson, our virtual poet in residence for the October / November Issue of The Believer.

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