TRISH HARTLAND is learning about poems in Notre Dame’s MFA and enjoys translating works that insinuate themselves into bendable tongue-borders. Recent samplings can be found on the Internet and elsewhere.
Terms of Syllogism
I was sure that being in between meant being nowhere
I was sure, too, of scissors that could cut me off the grid
I hoped there was a key, but sure the void was serious,
virulent and spreading. I was sure alone, mostly.
Surely I was right on some accounts, a logic that left me
pounding. Was intimacy, by nature, grotesque?
Those intimate with me were divided. Where was I,
young and with my mother, running in the drenching rain?
Sometimes it is that which is most anonymous and cinematic
which is preserved, pressed between two panes and sealed.
The ambulance carrying my father at three in the morning struck
and killed a black bear. The beast wore death’s fur in my father’s place,
had to be hauled off the ribbon of road before the vehicle
could pass. I know there is a door in the exact shape of my body.
That when I go through it, I will know by how perfectly it licks the rim
of my perimeter. I am certain. On the phone, my mother told me,
island. That is where I’ll go when I am gone. Be certain,
I told myself, to be ready for the door when it opens.
Poem with Inflammation
And who am I to have such bold intentions?
I peeled myself off for the ship slitting the ocean to you
The sea’s big mouth yawning wide for me
We wept to keep it full
I keep making a door of myself and people come right through
A crowd erupting behind another door or was it jeering?
A thin line: I recognized that summer’s screaming as belonging to a crime scene
To embroider the pelt, it must be pierced at point blank range
There are rooms lit from the inside with no one in them and I have been one of these rooms
Again and again
A cousin coughing me out of my sleep all night
How pithy, my bald resentment of her body trying to heal itself
Of love’s repentant and evaporative act
The simulacra coo to my reducing scalp
So I live here now beneath a crown of pink synthetic flowers
For you: I scrape my face off the glass to wear my self today
I am so automatic
Scarf stitched to every crenulated thing I see with eyes
Encounters that sting as an acid bath must
She reached for the iron bare handed and exclaimed how could a woman ever set herself on fire?
TRACY MAY FUAD is a writer and artist living in Brooklyn and a recent graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program.