3 Fascicles

By Suzanne Heyd

While my thought is undressed — I can make the distinction, but when I put them in the Gown — they look alike, and numb.

— Emily Dickinson

Fascicle 1: Next of Kin

Curls drench & I can but wonder is she drowning & is there any once
upon a time.
The river’s looking glass glints ruthlessly northward & there’s tensile strength to the locks.
Postpone your departure love, this may be a miracle in the offing.
Neither bridge nor foot-plank; poor little fish.
I ransom no body from the gallows & even so that brink
place continues, stalks.

Shadows loom in the laundry & letters are left unkissed. Here it churchbells noon, at 3 PM & 6. Oranges hail from warmer climes. Men of construction pattern traffic & like it so; their girls with names like Genna Joy. As if ice cream could strawberry its way back to the vine. This girl with me I love her. This girl I never pronounce.

One mole too many on the cheek makes a mother of her—don’t you see mama, aren’t I something or will be or was. I’ll leave your room on tiptoe. Do I with the winter birds to their nesting, the icy current. Some deviance is primary & will never be detected. This is my push off the bridge. Am I the passing thought of your hands, night turned in on itself. Are we descended of a wall-eyed god.

Take me back to boulder, baby, where the scrub oak. If you ask would I tree leave, wood I root. Don’t make me beg or I’ll blue in the face, locust & lizard the sky. I imagine that’s why Daddy never came home. Believe he sprang fully formed out of rock.

Staked at a young age she never meant me to try. Sunday table a cut glass vase, pitch of inflorescence toward the thorns. Platitudes weather a dire prediction; she pinches the tips, presses a tender blush. O how willingly will I eat my meal on a plate in the very room of the house in the very town in which only she could have raised me.

The dinner parties she imagined but never pulled off & the x-mas tree only once, a wife like her pearl-colored, waif of disproportionate means. The soaked castle, who wouldn’t ask for, moted with alligator teeth. Each heap makes a gorgeous language of her smile. Step away from that mirror. At this late stage, aren’t we a theater troupe, a traveling circus, & where isn’t there music, a music man.

The dread cabinet: young mothers & their chambering. Am I fraudulent, mama mama, am I haunt? In which noun do you nestle as the shadows leak into your neck. Still, skin flakes off in the good soup. Days arrive grotesque on the ravenous bed: we eat ourselves alive.

How family orders accident. Cells hum & we dodge each gaze in verticals; practice scales. Polar ribs begin to jut—they are like lights going out. Meiosis leaves so little to chance. The smell in the room writ like a bruise, a bracelet gash at the wrist. I put shapes on paper: pulpy little blots. Want to pour alcohol on it, for god’s sake let it burn.

Fascicle 2: American Forgery

The year parades its seductions down the street:
contents of a retinue. A man’s bedecked in flower garlands,
trigger finger rims the glass.
When did you last study a face? I will send money
to every province of guilt I can think of, bake savories
for the wretched; I won’t hazard a guess.
They are a long line of people.
They are long past listening to you.

The barn’s a thicket of butchers; trappings, signs. Stumble the ordinary knives. Chairs have ears & resist their orders. A cudgel lies under oath—your name in the space provided. Nights you read red cinder, decode new enemy species. Crashes accrue along a warped & splintered door. Colors exist without perfume. This hasn’t helped you forget about the poppies.

The hierophant wears a fake nose & gives you for dinner kidney with asphalt, a bright can of drugs. Your bank account’s been closed. O, terrible infancy endless, you’re part of the plot inevitable & hiddenly. It’s the nick of time. Worn paper burns & words worm their way in. Consider the thumb’s fingerspelling potential, the human buttons of inveterate neglect.

Several stones remain. The grove’s unturned & a hair ribbon eels its way through roots. The sexual sadist says he’s found Jesus. In the parable of the wasp, there’s no telling sliced fruit from a bride. Four experiments later & the secret like ice inside him like a body on ice. The priest sits slatted in a chair. White drapes coffin the window.

Caution scatters the color in rain, an obedience to ruin I’m tracing. We talk until the trees begin to plead their case. What defense could we offer when what means falls on deaf ears. The eco-friendly resort to high-altitude solar. If we avalanche the caves now, no one returns. Would we echo in the chasm. Little steel pots of blood & ochre. Is this what you had in mind.

The widow walks on board swinging by the buckles a pair of red shoes. Your tongue attempts her version of no. The ground caves in & every day we miss the signs. strange bird perches on a seat, corridors shift, shrieks. Yet another collection of the dead. The finest powders cake ever more suspicious along the envelope; you riding high on switchback tracks.

Filth to the carriers, the face faces & there’s no one to forget. You rubble the bones & talking sticks. Fear’s corrugations sodden the cellar. For shame. What’s left for you, fat maggot? There are countless tiers down there & more & more are rooms.

Fascicle 3: Inamorata

Men beyond the window, static in the bottlefly, bottleneck blue.
Arch the corner I am not crammed in here.
Arch the corner I am free not free do you understand.
More appreciation please in syrup flesh & wine.
I am door flat with a knob. I paper somewhere, I ransom.
My love, I can’t carry anything to term.
Terse promises push through the slot.
In my dreams I am all vulva & open to view.

Surmise the fret in letters. Reckless fossils graphite the heap, bled imprecisions gardening each page. How many hands inside weather’s degrees. Her fingernails dirty. She secrets three boxes, an aerosol can of pain. Will rains terrarium the marble-eyed city; if only paper could save her.

The roof is a door. If splinters draw edgewise toward the artery, what centrifuge tunnels into cinders? A broken city. A tree. Evening. From what interiorless thing emerges the intentional tissues of a room. I am become my own muscle; I flip the house & recognize in it nothing. Judicious, the maps slip unseen between two horizons of absence. Or where we go, arc-ache of ending, how we stay to leave.

This dream where I drift above him, an acute knowledge of seeds everywhere implied. Where I mean to say red trillium but come up nosebleed. He was the sound of L on my palate; loneliness a proximal & distal predictor. I’d embryo another world & other people came too late to be anything of use. O mere deduction. O solid paragraph forbidding.

As if you could slip into me & experiment: can I write her name with hair? Fasten the gaps, body the entrance. Who wears these sounds. I stand on my head, a girl at grand central station. No footprints suffer the floor. You believe me here; bird the branch, strike brick to flimsy match. Only echoes return, the possibility of the figure, patterned; rain.

Thanks to the editors and readers of AGNI Online, where the first stanza of Next of Kin appeared, in revised form, under the title “Vial Trapped in a Fairy Tale.”

“A broken city. A tree. Evening.” is Samuel Beckett; “Or where we go, arc-ache of ending, how we stay to leave.” is Karen Volkman.

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About Suzanne Heyd

Suzanne Heyd is the author of Crawl Space (2007, Phylum Press) and the recipient of a 2009 Artists Fellowship from the State of Connecticut. Recent work appears in Ploughshares, jubliat, AGNI, Third Coast, Spillway, and Interim. Finishing Line Press will publish Fascicles as a chapbook in June 2009.

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