Laurie Blauner is the author of five novels, eight books of poetry, and a forthcoming creative non-fiction book. She won PANK’s 2020 Creative Non-fiction Book Contest and her book, called I Was One of My Memories, will be available in 2022. A new novel called Out of Which Came Nothing is currently available from Spuyten Duyvil Press. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, The Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, Field, Caketrain, Denver Quarterly, The Colorado Review, The Collagist, The Best Small Fictions 2016 and many other magazines.
A Crack in Everything Else
The forest that crawls between us is tattered and rotting.
Behind leaves, firmly in place, bones of light
nuzzle my skin. You are an instrument, I tell these glass walls.
I carry a haphazard suitcase. I seek beauty.
Everyone watches but no one approaches, the fence littered
with broken men. Only the bloodless evening argues with
my father, the king. (I can’t leave either.) I was beside
the moon, my door opening onto a muscular field.
A bird flies against the turrets. Leave me alone, I scream
at all the people. They smile inside. You see the mechanism
of the world, my father explains. But too much is clear,
all that incongruent understanding, an untethered fern,
a horse, sacrifice. I can’t touch myself
without thinking about moss or unopened flowers.
I grow political, waiting for people with wings to fall
finally inside the glass. You believe nothing terrible
can happen. I echo aberrantly. My wishes scratch
walls, trying to escape. I am becoming myself. A downtrodden
landscape between us withers. Father says,
You have learned to care for others. Now come to me.
Calamitous and Teenaged
We ran into one, our house too small.
I was her invisible undergarment.
She was too much under construction, a child with
a mirror resembling everyone else,
a short disease with a youthful diagnosis.
A new haircut like rain.
I told her: never grow old, never become
a map of the body, roads leading every which way.
Her flesh and hair growled from aberrant green hats,
blue shirts, and aged pants.
Pieces of music emerged from the wrecked room,
unmistakable laughter. I had ears that carried me
through reenactments. I’ve found evidence,
a tattoo of a flamboyant tree, the nearest city translated
into a red dress, too much mouth. She didn’t evaporate
or leave, becoming hair. I was tired. No more savvy
hunters and gatherers screaming outside our house. No more
cautionary tales to wake us up in the middle of the night.
I wanted to say that we were surrounded by streets
the shape of squares, that she smelled of leaves and wind
when she arrived late at our door. Our windows
were built of constellations. What to do with
stitches spreading across impatient questions?
Is this my life? Who was here first?
If only she was afraid.