Louisa Storer studied poetics and art history at UC Davis and Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has previously appeared in Big City Lit and she was the recipient of the Joan Baldwin Fellowship at Sarah Lawrence. At the moment, she works as a young adult librarian at the New York Public Library. She lives in Long Island City, Queens.
To say this: one’s tendency towards the clinical will be missed
is hard, hard as abalone shell as hard as an otter’s
wet breastbone as hard as this afternoon’s sand smoothed by tide
and composed from only a little of each and as brittle
as a basking turtle’s baked carapace. If one could just see
this collection as a small admiralty of beloved objects
assembled for inspection by the captain balancing
the world upon his navigator’s wheel all while most
probably not looking. For discretion’s sake, to not see
is not proof of one’s rigor. A lion, too, is fierce when consumed
by the minutiae of the kill.
It is not loneliness
which will reduce a wild beast to a de-clawed show cat but
the big cat’s reluctance to board the ark. It is reasonable,
that, the dread of the matched pair and solitary seasickness
until the sea—itself unmatched and prone to the familiar
casualties of storm—calms into baby wave and baby wave
blanketing the equator.
What then after: once spilled rook
takes spilled queen ? Once the doggerel of rank and file devolves
into this: the panorama of a thing gone placid as glass
as seen from one’s clear cabin window.
Do not wait: go south.
Let the globe be something to encircle like a spinning hoop.
There should be a medal for each, all the hobbled and flight-less:
the rag-pickers, the mud-larks skimming the banks and rivers
of the dead. A paper anniversary should demand
no more than a pruned hand’s worth of ruined silk, gold fillings and
abalone splinters. And if it were later might the chandelier
buried by ship-wreck almost do the trick? To be a pirate
is to promise ontology, naming one’s treasure ruth
for one’s shrunken grandmother and heaven for one’s
youngest anxiety. Brutality can be glacial
like that like a thankful jewel unburdened by setting.
Really, one’s heart is wicked like that coaxing living from
the hinterland between airports. Not only geese but the fat ones
stupid in their allegiance to land. The ones at night speaking
of catastrophe and cardboard gone soggy in the sanctuary.
Suppose a flock of diamonds were not as happy as suspected.
As a bloody spear shot somewhere from the darkness the third wall
collapsed and audience convinced stage to believe that fire
was indeed a misery meant to refute any redemptive
theory of the gods. That is the meaning of to go without sleep.
When a name assumes the mischief of the incantatory and one’s
otherwise tasteful fingers sparkle with witchery. Sorcery
speaks delightfully in such circumstances. The hum of the mother
busy in one’s breath as one dismantles home in pursuit of contraband.
The bags of kittens arranged by color: tabbies divided from
marmalades and tortoiseshells. Babies upon babies all a-splash
in their baby bathtubs. Until the diabolical mewling
and babble stops as blocked (on a dime) as a rune ceases to spell
doom in spilt salt upon the kitchen floor and the baby is put to bed.
No, what really begs consideration when while: late sun cuts buildings like talc
and the metal power plant looks to solder hot and orange as pipe as a reckoning,
is the pull of babies. Not their gravity per se as they distill in puddles
of gas and water in a webbing we limit as solar system. Not their bodies:
the allure of dreadfully pink surfaces and nub toes collectible
as moon rocks.
In all work, there is a point rather than a range when medium will fail.
When an alloy common as adaptation and inessential as blood shudders
into birth. It is almost laughable: the wars invented into wars for that.
In one corner, the winged and in the other the foolhardy. Jewelry and
bomb-making are no different. There is always a flash like foil catching light
before reaction swells in duty like the plague and the flora and fauna like bull kelp
and killer barracuda must decide on the spot under water in rook
whether to merely sprout tentacles or die. The babies are like that: all need
at dusk: little weathervanes dressed up in copper as nanny goats and cockerels
and humpback whales, little litmus tests humming to the old man eggplant river,
tickertape parades with conquering hearts deciding if survival is worth the paper.