Cathexis Northwest Press

© 2018 

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disposable; this place becomes an entry; more of the same
disposable

 

this letter is a few lines daily: it seems this swallowed single mind is searching

if only I could arrive as quickly as the station in the window of the express

meanwhile, I tunnel through the sewers of the city if this is redemption why do I

bother at all plays

trains don’t arrive, only people

a house plant family where change is slow so there’s always time to save

dumb cane & aloe prefer a drowning, then after, to starve for days

& there goes the eastern light which rises on dumb cane’s leaves like prances en

pointe

by drowning, I mean a binge

to starve, I mean to weep

I have yet to find god in herself, yourself or myself but there is god in these

beloved succulents 

trains don’t weep, only people

 

a mind is simply fragments of things read and not read

I turned my bedroom closet into a reading place stacks of books green pillows of

plush & white walls

This may be my first memory— the light when hitting purple beads

I am trying to finish, to write it all 

those doors like an accordion the wheel broken at the top

& they were gray

time lost on a train, speckled floor, reflection of the silver pole, my hands, my

arms, crossed at the shins like a bow

a man in sneakers writing his next great: a cradled notebook, as if something

could matter more than air 

rock back and forth a tall stem of grass, a blade 

approaching bikes through a red light make me skittish but I will stand on the

yellow as a train pulls in

gray as in, a lack, a fallen bookmark which becomes an earmarked page 

Is it because the train would be brief, swift like a bullet? 

 

emergence: an underground train is suddenly on a bridge

when she took me to pierce my ears I picked the blue ones, squeezed my mouth

tight, clawed each knuckle

Look dad, aren’t they pretty?

I sat across from him at a table a year ago—so, tell me what really happened

gray as in, a sad image, letterings etched and erased

the other each word I am writing

The elevator of my building and the train doors sing the same pitch: on a line in a

gale of wind

I think about things until they go numb, memory, that is

I am only scratching, whether face in ceramic or plastic, just above the surface

skin perforates skin— stop— no— each word I write

I see it, too, feel it as a gun puncturing a hole in my ear or a shoelace around my

throat. 

Memory, that is.   

this place becomes an entry

I find myself spoiled 

by the imagining of an aperture

                                    in opaque glass I stand & wait

                                    while the shower liner becomes soiled 

 

my sitting bones rest on my heels which rest on the fiberglass slick with water & scum 

 

 

               maybe this is how I die: a little tug, the rod, my skull

               maybe this is how I die: a body folded in on itself like a paper crane 

               maybe this is how I die: avoidance 

 

 

a disgustingly bright green dot moves across my iris

                        I rest my case 

                        grow bigger then smaller

                        & look up to the rain 

                                                            ask— did God invent fetal position? 

 

yes— the closest thing held is one’s knees in solitude

 

 

by solitude I mean this place becomes a glass case 

by solitude I mean the past is in this poem

 

 

               sometimes I wake only to orient myself like a dog 

 

               & call it exercise

 

 

I am one in fifty 

but wait— just long enough for me to finish

more of the same

 

a smiths record playing, halfway through, housed in glass 

a mind spinning housed in 3am

the things we stay awake for

 

dead yeast at the bottom of wine are lees 

& the 10 suicides the george washington bridge sees a year are dregs

what remains leftover— the bottle, the sea

 

the smell of an old book 

& of old wood 

the things we read

 

your face ambushed in a scotch glass 

mine ambushed in a pillow case the ends tied tight

—barriers 

 

my skin cells which are dying 

a pen running out of ink

more of the same

 

grinding my teeth

& binging 

enamel begins to eat itself

 

thank god for my daily bread 

thank god for these words

I’m alive

Hailing from North Carolina, Brittany Rowell is a Brooklyn-based poet and dancer currently in the writing program at The City College of New York. She is the recipient of The David Markowitz Poetry Prize and The Dortort Family Undergraduate Prize.

"All of these poems are a part of a larger piece entitled, 'atrophy,' which explores the communication of trauma, depression, and eating disorders."