Letter for the End of the World [Redacted]; Girl Figure; Litany or Other Names for Drowning
By: Caitlin Ferguson
Letter for the End of the World [Redacted]
Listen, I tried to unmake [ ] the little apartment trees bent over and so thirsty
[ ] Yesterday, the sidewalks swam, all those greening
drank [ ] sea water once made the Organs [ ] Then ocean things pressed
their bodies into mud and turned [ ] Each fruit on the counter
rots, a fast brown [ ] tufts of Bermuda outside the back door
[ ] cactus crusts, all exoskeletal[ ]chewed through [ ] I forgot
creosote smells like rain and not just life [ ] of stars, an after gleam
a rendering. [ ] of all the bits down into what [ ] can and can’t be [ ]
here with me [ ] In July, when the whole world melted, we sang Walking
After Midnight until the sun split [ ] in half and lonely like Plato’s
monsters [ ] or God particles [ ] tender
as the skins of succulents plump with water and happy [ ] Of course
we’re happy with the bees and vodka burning [ ] desperation and the body
[ ] lights up like kindling. [ ] I’m sorry [ ] I can collect
what’s left [ ] the ash [ ] of a family [ ] or a California
sapling. [ ] the rivers have been long gone, dried out and empty
[ ] nothing but puddles of winter light [ ] a sick yellow. [ ] Listen,
we’re all on fire [ ] in the glow of a city [ ] afraid to sleep.
I open up a space in the shape
of a body. Name it girl & monster.
This space doesn't hold up so well.
A stand-in for what leaves or has left,
little bits die off & you can't blink
or you'll miss my body. How I can
make it with straw & wire, muslin
stretched between my stems, & grow
the way other green things do. Greening
until the greenness falls away, & I can trace
its exact shape in city dust, the dim flush
of light, now that I'm older & so tired.
Litany or Other Names for Drowning
Sometimes I think my desert is like an ocean
that pulls me under. The way
it covers me, crests and troughs,
piles and splutters, steals my water,
and turns it into sand. There’s a current
here, too, below the surface where
the earth’s cool to touch. Sometimes,
I want to dig deep enough so it can pull
me under and fill me again and again
and again as if I could be like those old
ocean things who pressed their fishbodies
into mud and became stone just so they could be found
But, mostly, I think about those plants I watered until
their roots rotted, turned to mush.
Each spring, I kill them over and over and over
because I can. Because I want to.
And, I know my desert, the one
that stretches behind my tongue, is not
an ocean; that I’ll wake tomorrow
morning then the next morning until
my future self is as still and as flat
as a lake without wind, a strange, tide less
mirror; that, one day, I’ll paint a body
as an ocean with wave after wave revising its skin.
And, later, I’ll look at that picture
and think fuck you and, I’m sorry
I killed those plants.
Caitlin Ferguson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers-Newark. Her work as appeared in The Volta, 2River View, Tar River Poetry, Twyckenham Notes, and is forthcoming from the Colorado Review, among other places. Currently, she lives in Las Cruces, NM.