The Poetry Project

Molly Schaeffer


At Cape Disappointment the best part is the sign, “fog is seen here.” The sun pours in then it starts hailing, or the hail comes up from the sea a convergence of the continent an edge of the continent one long wave that starts out somewhere in the middle, a point far away, then later is rolling towards. “Later” an indulgence for how time when at sea moves in a longer, more slumbering way. It feels good to remember a body of water is called that, Jesse says, because, like us, it’s a something embodied. I’m watching yesterday cliffs of black sand break off into the sea, watching the slow of a wave come from inside a body and alert, I mean alter, its landscape. The body of land that’s ravenous for the body of water, or vice versa. Similarly we’re eroded by whatever. Wind in the sand, car tracks in the sand, rearranging shapes, the things that breathe on a bunch of rocks and over some length of instinct sigh a great relief and splinter into shards. It feels like this: next to a green candle now is a yellow mug, brown coffee that got lighter by adding in a third term, cream. Pouring in the cream made a form of wind, which blew the candle out. Or we’re impressing ourselves upon the bodies edging into ours, assemble, dissemble, reassemble, the same.


In the paper bag my hand rustled against a grape, which I thought was my phone vibrating, someone wanting me or wanting something from me, difficulty distinguishing these from one another, weather-dependent. Whether or not I feel a strong sense of–someone walks by wearing a tote bag that reads The Tote Bag and I’m devastated, just more undulation like standing up over and over again, my hypotension a small tired animal that needs tending. To wake up each hour to newly-striped skies and somehow understand they’re all the same, that each needs something different to really see it–a shade, a squint, a greening context, a name that slides in as logical replacement for a hand.


When I read about crow recognition I was also reading about epigenetic information in their bodies. The story is the cloth and the rock or gem inside of it the stakes. Crows aren’t magpies, who collect human ephemera–all our crap–and weave it into nests that seem to sparkle with myth, in actuality tiny plastic drink-swords, soda tabs, zip ties, barrettes, NOTE look up what magpies collect. Much like the game “if I were stuck inside this 711 for a week, how would I make meals?” is “what in my bag most appeals to a magpie.” Take trash and turn it into safety, into housing, though I worry the baggage inherited via our objects might affect the babies as they hatch. As for crows, it’s known now they’re able to pass knowledge to their young, which humans to loiter towards at the duck pond, bag of soft crusts in hand to roll into balls in their direction. Which to pelt with sound, to annihilate a known impulse to annihilate, to come closer.


The track isn’t green, despite manufacture–hills and its host to people who live under weather. Someone’s lying on the field, I’m sitting, on the one opposite, the one on the hill, that is the hill, that holds the hill that holds the green, host to those that turn, periodically, into birds. Specks on the lime. Here a canvas, Martin-esque, flat brims, supreme grids, to cut a citrus free of its membrane. Gather ye rosebuds. What it is is ants on the flat green expanse kicking that speck around. What I want more than anything is to see a lush astroturf field in the middle of a meadow. When I cut the greens I can’t grasp them too tight, pick basil at its site of flower so it can grow again, lemon sours the color, runs horizontal, indicates without words but, ok, it’s a “loud” color, not happening here, anywhere, else this time this summer. When I wear headphones with nothing playing still I think I hear less, it’s always synesthetic used wrong, used up, the trees subdued in their lush gray-green shyness, reserved branches for later houses, if we ever get there. Rows of shushing as they brush back the hair behind the other’s ear. The floodlights come on. It hasn’t rained in months.

Issue 19