WOMAN CRYING IN A GALLERY
is a rupture an artifact or just a wound?
shadow that does not match the shape that made it
how much of grief is a performance to the dead?
shadow sliding across a lawn
if the performance is only to the self, does a tree fall?
bad pears in a wooden bowl
how much of my starvation was a performance to the sky?
vomit leaking from plastic bag
if the body is a house, was I burning it in protest?
house as wine bottle filled with snow
can an action take place in stillness?
mesh bag of clothes I couldn't sell
to what extent was I making myself an artifact?
pallet of gently used winter clothing on a barge to Burma
to what extent was I a bad architect?
pallet of H&M’s new spring line on a barge from Bangladesh
to what extent was I a lazy artist?
people in a shipping container on a barge from China
to what extent did I invert the lie?
people in line for bread or phones, sweating in rows of ellipticals
if at first I wanted to be small, then for 14 years couldn’t get better, was the disease always false?
circle of women’s bodies making snow angels
if photographs do not exist, was what happened real?
circle of thin white womens’ bodies eating
if starvation changes the brain, what else could have occurred & would I remember more?
voice on a tape in an archive
was it an effort to forget?
Ana's body slamming into the deli
if starvation changes the brain, did I become fluent in a hidden language?
to see snow, see her silhouette
if I got sick in order to leave, rather than the usual regression-into-childhood model, what was I trying to escape?
to see, try to unsee
was incessant weighing & measuring a comment on capitalism or a reiteration?
circle of thin white girls in hospital gowns begging to see their weights
did the revolving door in the Seagram Building blur to snowflakes or make me see better?
circle of thin white girls in kimonos taking photos with “warrior” makeup to learn to be strong
when was the last time you got undressed & measured by a doctor or a man?
silhouette filled with powder
on a warm February day, how far do you walk with your coat on without taking it off?
silhouette drawn with white police chalk
how cold are your hands?
circle of girls with sharpies on butcher paper, tracing how big they are vs. how big they feel
what color is the sky now?
in our separate showers, mornings, steam curled from our bones at the same angle
what about the color of the sky when you were born?
white rock into a river
what coin from what country paid to stitch your mother up?
throwing up into the river quiet after snack
who wiped your mother’s brow after? who didn't?
phone ringing in an empty room
what coin over her eyes or under her tongue, later?
whales in an ocean
what phone numbers have you memorized?
murder sites on a map
what do you say into the disconnected phone in case the other person can hear?
public bathrooms & grocery stores on a map
so ok if my bulimia was stealing massive amounts of food & scheduled twelve-hour blowouts every 1-3 days, rather than frequent quickies while in & out of company, how do the lack of spontaneity & isolation play into what occurred, which is to say: did I protect the rest of my life & keep myself functional or did I make the rest of my life a waiting for that period?
I'm losing you I'm losing you I miss you
to what extent was the stealing poverty and to what extent adrenaline?
white bread crumbs on a kitchen table
to what extent gathering evidence I was a bad person?
white powder to gums on a kitchen table
when I had to be restrained & tube fed, why did I want this? why did I not comply & try to get better?
three-car pileup, body kept from ricocheting around car by seatbelt
do I just crave intensity?
ID in a wallet
to what extent was I reacting to those boys when I was four?
loaf of bread in an oven
to what extent was I inventing an invisible friend because I was lonely?
girlchild in a well
to what extent did I want to shut all humans out, burn my forest?
father in a coffin
to what extent did I mistranslate everything I was told?
mother’s voice on a phone, rapist’s voice on a phone
to what extent was it ingrained habit: purging as quotidian as tooth-brushing?
panther pacing a cage
how does the desire to escape tie into being queer, e.g. being taught my basic perceptions & desires were wrong?
medical chart thick as my thigh in a dump
if bulimia taught me to be angry instead of passive, as in anorexia, was it a gift?
plastic bottles in a dump
if I had gone to prom or college instead of hospitals, if I’d had family or mentors, would I have become a queer poet?
green beach glass washing ashore
if I had been functional enough to be in a relationship, might it have pulled me out?
Ensure in a can
had I not been granted benefits, would I have forced enough stability for a job?
napalm in a can
was my protracted convalescence just simpering?
empty cans clattering in the backseat, half coors lite, half diet coke
what if I don’t know how great the scene was five years ago because I was too busy dying?
empty gurney, empty shopping cart
am I using someone else’s marginalization to demonstrate my own?
shallow stitches in a teenage girl’s arm
is correlating the murder of a brown person with my white lived experience problematic to the point that this poem is irrevocably flawed?
meal plan on a tray
a building can melt in enough heat, as from burning napalm, right?
meal plan in the body
so why do freezing temperatures only create tiny fissures, at worst?
ice in the marrow
what does a woman’s body build & what does a man’s body build?
scraps I’d throw on the floor “accidentally”
how fine a lace have I knit my bones to & how early will I know?
UNICEF rice on a helicopter shot down
what is the use of bricks?
body thrown from Pinochet’s helicopters into the ocean
what is the use of mulch, of peat?
baby cut from corpse’s stomach
why did I make a winter garden?
ovaries shrunken grapes or swollen pears
why did I not stay in the winter palace?
why is food used to describe a woman’s body?
a house’s shadow sliding slow across a lawn
why is architecture used to describe a man’s body?
bone chips in a desert
does a decade of amenorrhea create visual changes to the appearance of the ovaries?
dimmest star in a constellation
what was I trying to say without using language?
the smallest white dwarfs collapse & are never named
was I using the master’s tools or my own?