Oct 20, 2015

Rules for a Body Coming Out of the Water

Written by Emily Skaja

Read by Miller Oberman

In a story, a girl is a tree / is a bird / is a wilderness
A girl wakes up underwater Nail by nail builds herself

the same wooden raft Eats the mulberries & the blackberries
set out for the trap & she gets away from him

somehow, the price always half-drowning, half-death.
Compromised by longing & looking for language

to note the differences in the map: the pointed spruces
tipped against the moon this time

& the water half lit, star-slid– but it makes no difference
in the telling. The story is familiar

& she has been told what she can expect from men.
Because the body is incorrect. The body is fragile

in tar & marline, skin written over with shame
like a register of witch-burning. So the body is stubborn:

spalted pith of one lung falters, lumbers open.
Air, dirt air. When fingers reach for fox sedge, claw

for rushes, the air rushes up to meet her grassward.
So the body is inventory– Shunt.

Clutch of hair like a root looping back on itself.
Her hair is juniper rope.

I’m asking: how can she get at the start of this place?
Blue river nameless, sky blank, pointless

code of moss–if she’s traveling north now,
true north north to what?

I can say my voice is a burned voice
but she doesn’t know the way back

after the pigeons have eaten the words
I dredged with flour & left to rise.