Lillian Kalish


make sure to smooth out all the creases,
they say, when they rewrite
the history of the body
where the elbows bend
to produce crackled skin
no salve can rub this away
can forget the skin gone gray from
grating nails, the cavern now
            when they go, they sink
            fully into the folds
            of the belly button
            the knuckles
            the mouth
            - a harvest of intimacies –
            ripe for remembering
            like the bitter fruit you pluck
            impossibly green and glowing
its juices, seeds drip down
your chin unwiped
you’ve taken well to eating bitterness
moaning ambiguously
an exalting spirals up
from your toes
            spools of light
            amber colored, no,
            a waxy yellow
            refract outwards through your holes
             and hold you taut like a marionette
            caught in radiance
it may not always have been
but this is where your history goes
receding as the shore does
and then out from you in gilded threads
like the tapping a maple tree for its sweetness
            they tap you for yours
            with hopes to drench you
            in your own sugars
            to loosen you so you do not feel
            the first bite.