TWO POEMS by Kirsten Kaschock

reduced to quatrain

Again. Down at the water birds tread—
feet in mire, wings mucked. Once-fish
wash up and a few beaks pick at, twitch
inside them. The dead and half-dead

littering the shore are plastics. Am
I terrified that these immensities
of what I’ve done are licensed? Yes.
Rage erupts, and me—part-owner of a dam.

Oceans die and to do nothing I wade
into the dying—my body asking to offer
itself comfort: some lulling rhythmic turn
borrowed even longer ago from a wave.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

there is no distance

if I poison
I am poisoner

torturing—
a torturer

doing not a thing am I not a thing

pouring black
into the machine I

become thing-like
wound darkly

a wounding clock

a keep for
killing I watch I

watch and watching
am what I do not

stop nor seek to unwind

who might I
be I’ve caged

she thins dis-
persed inside

her sorry so-the-fuck-what jailor

all mad here—it’s
mercury it’s petrol

bottled she bolts
her desire to fly

her best-worst attribute to the earth

waters were once
a kind of flight—if

I fly I’m a f-ing
liar—de-siring

what? while ink-dark milk plumes through

unslaking sobs of
we: babies, takers

–Kirsten Kaschock

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

STATEMENT

I don’t know how one should make poems out of sorrow, complicity, and impotence.  I only hope that making poems can be a first step toward action.  While this is happening, I have been reading aloud Madeleine L’Engle’s book A Wrinkle in Time to my sons. In that book, three children travel light years from home to fight a dark cloud that they are told also shadows the earth.  Such a shadow has leapt from metaphor into our water—the amniotic fluid of the planet.  Art can feel small against this—and crucial.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kirsten Kaschock’s first book of poetry, Unfathoms, is available from Slope Editions. a beautiful name for a girl is upcoming from Ahsahta Press.  Kirsten is currently a Ph.D. fellow in dance at Temple University and resides in Manayunk, Pennsylvania, where she makes things.

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