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.

Unstable Procedure

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

Unstable Procedure

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

I say

Within this frame
I’m not lying / gone

It is adorable
how much is
not enough

Unstable Procedure

How much do you think about aesthetics in your work?

When the wet / green
world goes

A fact
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
floor where
the edge is

Highway out there
We cry

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
it separates

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.

She looked
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.