Laura Kochman is the author of Future Skirt (dancing girl press, 2013) and The Bone and the Body (BatCat Press, 2015). She is originally from New Jersey, but currently lives, writes, and feeds her cat in Philadelphia. Her recent work is found in Pith, inter|rupture, Gigantic Sequins, Entropy, Quarterly West, and others, and she is a book reviewer for Anomaly. She has trouble keeping both succulents and her website alive.
We hit the comet at the speed
of a person walking into a wall / I walk
into a wall
like I represent myself
Made without through lines / spine
to pelvis / spoke
my name into nothing
The blank canvas pretends to lack
too / I am embodied
in the pretension of shadow
Where the dust spins in the light and we see it for the first time / good and golden
Reminded of my ability not to have a body
No tether / no time
for how I might be loosened
from prehistory / exposure / wherein
I spoke my name into nothing’s landscape
and became immaculate terrain
and terrible smooth valley / vowels only
I became nothing to fall to
We created our own light there and so
See it that way
In Iliam we smash up against each other
at the speed of walking
forward / I do not see the obstacle
in Iliam / I am forward
with my desires
In Iliam we speak casually
to the dead
cloud / eraser smoke
In Iliam I am
the good one
I learn about the pre-stretched
canvases at the craft store
My heart / imitates
the page, pre-made
In Iliam the predetermined
boundaries allow the right brain
to go nuts
Saying it all in Iliam
the physicality is not a lie
I’m not lying
Within this frame
I’m not lying / gone
It is adorable
how much is
How much do you think about aesthetics in your work?
When the wet / green
is the gills are
thin vertical ridges / true
To my spine I seem
Without the blanket of dropped leaves
A glow in the mulch
I tell you the kernel of my heart
to return to
Jam a hand into the forest
the edge is
Highway out there
And slip toward the dry frame
In the Bathhouse, Without Glasses
In the one wet room in our skin singular among the tiles
One bath is hot. One bath is cold. One line of water breathes down from the tiled ceiling.
Once upon a time I opened
my eyes inside your body.
Gently feeling around the grouted edges.
She put me in the bath with my cousins, where
the Yiddish for vagina is very similar to puppy.
I lie down on the wet table to be scrubbed
talked about in another language
We flopped around in the water with our washcloths and shampoo bottles.
She’s always a body in the room, careful and clean.
I can’t see anything but the surface of the water
just in front of me / and even then, it laps clear through the tiles
If I were allowed to be tattooed it would be mostly letters
like markers in the cemetery
This one I lost / This one / Usually one body in the room
at least belongs to me, but
In the other room, the men bury themselves in hot salt.
It was traditional to go to the mikvah
but those buildings are all churches now.
She’s laughing at me in another language / unable to breathe
in the steam I know my
skin is around here somewhere
Near the strange edges of my thighs
I’m just a frame stretched over the table for cleaning
She all has dark hair and wide hips, a blur of shape and shadow, slipping around from body to body.
Is this even my shampoo bottle?
Someone empties a bucket of cold milk over my face.
I never thought of myself as a weak stomach
separate from the other organs
No such thing as inappropriate for the table.
But we approached her in the barn and smelled it / the cyst broken open, red
which still ran
like thick paint down her neck
from the spot where the lance went in.
as though separate from the experience
The neck just another.
She, hoofed, had intended to kick my head in.
Her sister in the next stall.
After this day we resumed our former relations
And I in my skin / riding upon skin / wearing skin / soaked in fat and
indulged in rubbing it in. As though I was the cloth laid upon the altar.