1 —

Everything has a skin:

my parents’ sectional sofa had its plastic slipcover
that stuck to summer-thighs leaving deep, clammy crevasses

prunes that float to the top of the compote
boiled milk, roasted chicken

and what remained of me

________  pictorial, dégagé
________________________________accepting the flow
________________________________________________________________water on the wrist.

2 —

I heard today that if you take the lung out
of the body and unfold all of its air sacs,
it would cover an area the size of a football field

To think: my chest could house a circus, a joust
a farmers market smothered green with uvula and other recent fruit
[a landfill, oceans electric, lopsided and nested with plusness]
a myth, mimeographed, misspelled or misquoted.

3 —

________Because of a twilit flower

4 —

________What is to follow when the fleshy forenoon creaks
________________when to push is not to lock
________________and never red, damn.
________He asked if love is august

________I tell not
________________harmony, but another eternity problem

5 —

And velamine — (or is it melamine?)

The ablative singular of velamen
Covering or clothing; one could say — skin

Deviant textile, tonic or tunic, pin and polymer
Clapped-on emotion, unbreakable (or unbearable?)

Of substances

6 —

Reading Owen Jones’ The Grammar of Ornament, she began to sway with her lids half closed,
entranced by cloud equivalents, collation atomic
wallpaper: Arabian, Celtic, Chinese, Moresque, Turkish
________C’est parce que…_______je respire…_______les plumes, la peau
A ferment almost human
and the eye is feeling appointments.

7 —

Skin of air, wineskin, Danskin, foreskin,
molt-loving snakes, lactation history,
burnt gypsum, canvas, velour, glass
what forms in the negative space, collagen,
botox, hymen, transmutation from a distance,
why a party may just be platonic, a leopard
tattoo, listening to blood, an insecure umbrella
the life of leaves, membranes, dermis, dollar
bills, peaches and canticles, the debate
over pluto, my heart, providential

Talk of Deer

Talk of deer lays me open to sighs.
Docious vernacular in unfamiliar  {je t’aime}  thickets____.

A dolorous stroke  {ich liebe dich}  of the hairline
and you endanger revelation

Butter and undress me, excrutiating nightingale.
These woods, my raiment; leaves
{ya vas lyublyu}  gestures of inspiration____.

I pierce the veil with bitten fingers
find a sad  {ana behibek}  interpretation of sylvan light

My heart is afraid  {te amo}  of geometric whispers
but replies to your equations with unrelenting grace

9+2 is not a pair, but twigs underfoot
the color of a cut  {I love you}

You speak in murmurs, verdant and raw, words
languid with condition. But once unbound,
(exposed) talk of deer cannot be rescinded.

Love and Other Falsehoods

Hell is not knowing the plural of yourself.
A de-ionized elocution
sutured to singularity.

When he broke, I saw the words of gods
beneath his altar
like figs, coarse sackcloth, the moon
shaken from its place.

By such wounds de-natured, I’ve stopped caring
about perfection.
At least for tonight.

Here, the shadow has no ledge
the siren no sound.
Here what scarifies is neither hunger nor thirst.
But soured smoke and absinthe,
despondency and sweat.

I think of him still.
Too often.
Leftover fall. Dirtied snow.

Delete a pore, a wrinkle.
Inscribe an organ, rewrite a limb.
Anthologize my body and spread the fragments over his.


starvation = salvation
can’t see the sandwich for the bread
birthing pangs

Sin reposo

He severed all but half her tongue.

I would strangle you with my hair
[if I thought I didn’t love you…]

Noch nicht
Pas encore
Non etiam.
Not yet.

An uncloistered voice
the ultimate revenge.

JP1- Jun17

Jaclyn Piudik is the author of To Suture What Frays (Kelsay Books 2017) and two chapbooks, Of Gazelles Unheard (Beautiful Outlaw 2013) and The Tao of Loathliness (fooliar press 2005/8). Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including New American Writing, Columbia Poetry Review, and Contemporary Verse 2. She received a New York Times Fellowship for Creative Writing and the Sellers Award from the Academy of American Poets. She holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from the City College of New York, and a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto.