The Poetry Project

Two Pieces

Rachel Turan

Identical individuals arranged in different shapes render the individual unrecognizable.

Non-native blossoms are an endless stream of leaving. Formerly full flowers parsed in pink piles, making their bed the curb’s crevice. They disperse, a speckling on the hardened drive of earth-scar.

Her form is me seeking the softest piece, every piece, over and overreach, each arrival the winner until the next and eventually I am back at the beginning. Last night my three-year-old masculinity fell from a high ledge and shattered in a fleshy mess.

The heat awakes the neighborhood. Aching particle waves escape the gap in my neighbor’s window across the alley from my kitchen sink. Smoke, fansucked so we have stranger’s cigarettes in bed. I greet shoulder tension, it just arrived like me off a 939 dollar flight to Santa Fe because I mustn’t die without seeing those old rocks that naked earth.

A voice memo claims me to the club of the trusted. In a group chat, two friends break up. The feeling of judgement cannot be wrong, but the texted dimension is not equipped to hold what needs saying.

My box of pre-filled syringes arrives. Someone in a Lupus Facebook group suggests I get the vials instead. Says it hurts less when the flow is from your own hand. I picture the rounded plastic casing of the medicine piled high atop my grave. I inject on Thursday nights.

/ The work group chat unthinkable
/ The reading group unthinkable 
/ The never was never again will be family gathering unthinkable 

The problem is my body wants to destroy itself and left unattended it would happen soon. The only way to know what’s happening is to cut out a chunk of kidney and look. The grainy biopsy imagery doesn’t help me but they say those dark spots there are troubled glomeruli inflamed. Stage four. Five percent chronicity. They medicate.

I park with just myself after helping clear out grocery stock in the form of imitation M&Ms without whatever weirdness is usually inside candy coating. I love this wooden fence covered in green, this dying tree, chain link texture and white-painted brick. Not like the desert where vines don’t climb and construction zones remain unmuddled, uncluttered, unclung by sun seekers.

I am attuned to the shifting needs of the duvet and their cover. Smushed to this side in sleep’s forgotten patterns. I reach inside between coconut shell buttons. My mother scoffs at 200 dollar sheets but when the ones she buys me rip doesn’t it add up? Work without end, amen. I tug their insides towards me. They’ve ended up shuffled towards the pillows, towards the red numbered alarm clock and the salt lamp here for hue not ions. In the film I watched instead of working a woman sacrificed herself to a solar storm in a utilitarian offering. She’d dropped an oxygen canister into the infinite (not boundless), her grief acute and pulsing, her hand outstretched to space.

I am too exposed on this originless rug in my teenhood bedroom. I do my stretches in the corner somewhere between the map and the mapped, where they maybe meet in the mind briefly. The map cannot affix concurrently to the ever shifting soil. The towns that must exist eight miles east or west but I don’t know unless I am there.

The problem is how much my life is valued and how little my life is valued and how much and little and much and me laid out on a bright sanitized table like a fish every four months like in the hospital at the beginning when they could only stop the shakes that spanned for hours by sheathing me in a human-sized ice pack. I am on my own. I am not with the town healer where surely I soon die from my body’s own toxicity but at least I am respected, maybe given some kind of formal ending and maybe I return.


My illusion banished 
In the gooey honey light 
Skin sliding on the curls of
Freshly four; I pondered


He only wanted to talk to tell me he was 
going to cartooning school; appreciated 
how I took my time in his details;  

I couldn’t help but eat diablo 
sugar sweet for now and later tangles

A door, here and here and here;
Only doors

The fragmentation of human into 
sorrel and plump 
may apple 

Work from We Are How We Live: Collectivity & Care In & Beyond the Household with Rebecca Teich