Kirsten Kaschock

Five poems

A bone spider wove it out of brick. The bricks came out her ass like silk constipation. The mortar, threads between. This was the original secretion of the dottery. No one still knows where it is suspended. Each new dew and it is gone from yesterday's span across the grass. The dottery houses women before they are conceived. The building teaches them waiting. The walls teach confinement. The inner warden teaches them how to occupy their small time with things that fit in hand. One-window teaches them the moon. The dotters learn it all so that it seems familiar when it is taught again or else they are bored to hatred and so unlearn. Dotters know this: all things undone contain their enemies. Dotters are not dotters from anatomy, dotters are dotters from edits, diets, tides, the cakey residue of Desitin in folds of infinite orchid. They arrive in silk, flee down ropes of root.


One dotter was conceived a man. No, two. Twelve. Admission: there were hundreds. Thousands of men were not priorly. Thousands of men pre-embryo could thread a needle with an eyelash, feel. Some retained water. Some were retrained. Some small rain down shall rain. The sum of their parts was not eagle to the hole-in-one. The hole was the part. Later, wholes were defined as solar—a system of orbits focused, buckets of electrons or planets swung around the largest tumor, largest mass, that ritual taking up of most. It is after all space and weight and not the scarlet robes or scepters, clubs, and balls that make-up men. A dotter should learn from this not to mince her steps. Instead, flesh out and out and out.


It is the gender in the brain that I would target. Red circles on the skull. A concentric cap. How is woman inscribed in the labyrinth? Is it? Possible to remake, retool, redraw, coax the minotaur back through his feeding, recover sacrifice, un-Daedalus? A red thread pulled as if upward through a cervix. This I would know: how I am made. Sewn? Printed? Digitized? Hewn from stone? Coagulated? Am I a calculation, a piece of pottery, a choreography of copper wire? Can it be undone? Which art are thou? Which art am I? And what made me—dread godhand or meme or viral joke? Why don't I desire bloodsport, defend rhetorically torture, let water pass, command? It must be one: defect, salvation, personality. Also: why happier in the questions? Why softer in the bed?


monologue of the inner warden

I was put here, facing in. To keep peace. Peace is the quality most revered in them that get out—their halo. I ensure it. You lose your selling point and what are you? I'm not them, not like'm at tall. I'm pushy and loud and they ain't s'posed to be tho some do pick that up. I get in trouble for my leaky behavior, but not too much. They wouldn't listen if I weren't insistent. If I weren't cruel. I say all sorts of things to keep'em pretty and kind. I tell'em what they'll be if they don't stay so. Nothing gets more airtime around here than words of shame. They're necessary and effective—I won't apologize for using the things. And yes I beat the ones forever staring out the one-window. They's the worst kind we make... all dopey all wishing. They's never happy in the outs. Always some other window, I'm guessing.


I was taught all about stolen. Stolen was mine own: words, ore, hours, breath. Everything was to be borrowed for me, and I would never be allowed to return anything because of the stain. My imprint was not a mark of worth. Only surface was. To gloss. I was taught to beget myself postmodernly, produce likenesses, and then found I could not. I refused it, but barely, began to hear the chime and cantor in the word essence, although I knew it was wrong to feel an underneath, beneath the photograph, the bone, that bit of world I need to suck. Absent nipple. Scattersource. Where the bees have bored, there bore I. Our flute our fibula our flower—the bees. Mine.

Kirsten Kaschock is the author of Unfathoms (Slope Editions) and a beautiful name/for a girl (upcoming from Ahsahta Press). She has written a novel entitled Sleight, and is working on a prosepoetic project called The Dottery. She lives in Philadelphia with her three children and their father, Dan Marenda. Kirsten is pursuing a PhD in dance at Temple University. Her recent choreographic work can be seen this September in The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2009 in Philly.

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