The Poetry Project


S. Brook Corfman

It is as if a meteor is imminent. It is as if to walk out of a house in a pair of heels would make me someone’s hero and also get me killed. It is as if this is not statistically unlikely, for me. It is as if, what was the word the therapist used, my sense of self was annihilated as a child. It is as if I do not hold tension, but work very hard to be tired or tense from other activities. It is as if I ever captured a spider instead of killing it. Sometimes the window slips down. It has nothing to do with circadian rhythm. It is as if I stay up all night because I can pretend no one will call upon me. Sometimes, I feel betrayed by the early morning birds, whatever kind live in Western Pennsylvania. I wanted everything to sleep and to leave me alone, to stop talking in ways I could not understand. And then oh did I I did I took to myself with such precise penance.

I am surprised by my vision of disaster. I always thought I would prefer water. Fountain of youth overflowing until I drown. Swimming, a skill I do have, until I am filled with acid and sink, a stone. Gabby wrote how easy it was to become a stone and it is not the same for me. I wish I could forget. And should I die tomorrow. I am instead a burning sphere moving through space. That is, I am a sphere moving through space and burn only when I get close to another mass. In the sailor moon movie, which I own on VHS although I don’t myself own a VHS player, silver rays give way to a pink bubble that converts the meteor, comfortably holding six, into a space ship. We can all breathe. Even if tuxedo mask kissed me back to life, all Endymion, I think I would stay dead and be grateful to have gone out that way.

I love all the songs other people hate. The television conveys beauty to me like a receptacle. When fish die they float to the top of the tank, turn colors as they’re cooked. Mostly. A stenciled t-shirt changes colors too, like a lantern at the prow. The mermaid saw it and was captured in wood. Perhaps I mean that literally. Speak the location and see who comes running: from the flat world, each family breaks apart when pushed. Like glass, millions of pressure points so as to reduce injury. Instead I’m cut millions of times as my mother walks through an invisible door. Each shard a bleedingheart flower. No, the flower, how it opens at dusk for a bright stone.

The tv filters from the other room: are private feelings really public? A closed question. The way that therapists say things you’d exactly expect them to say, and they become profound: just because everyone dies doesn’t mean you must outrun their death. Social pressures affect me even when I am alone. I realize there’s a window open even though the air conditioner is on, but it’s cool in my bed so I don’t get up to close it. I lay motionless for several hours but do not sleep. Remember my friend who found it easy to become a stone? We are lying here, spraying ourselves down, praying desperately to slide sideways to the river.

Have you forgotten about my body, its particulars. The implication here is that I did, somehow, successfully. And then I didn’t sleep well and my eyes felt more particular while everything else blurred. The window clicks shut. I do this as a routine. When we don’t lock it, the top falls down like a blouse and spiders get in that easily. I feel little remorse but wonder. I still could not take it lightly that people made love without me, I misremember this quote. A hanger falls from the chandelier like a raven. Sulfur. I turned my attitude up to confuse you and it worked. I am here and here is the sand I removed to make a space.

It is as if “tired” is no longer a response, a physicality that occurs as the result of something, but instead a pre-emptive (autocorrect: pre-emotive) mentality to being called upon. The theorists call this “being hailed.” I call this receiving an email between three and nine pm. And then the phone rang in ten-minute intervals, and it was revealed the great fact that would fill the day: a woman died. A woman died and we cannot even agree she was a woman. A woman died in horrible ways and everything I had been telling myself about certain statistics became irrelevant. Only the boyfriend checked on me. I cannot tell if this is because only the boyfriend knows. It is hard to talk about. And yet I have filled a notebook.

Issue 14