s c a t t e r s t a t e
by Carrie Lorig

i write with a bad mouth you can dance to. your armholes shake around your arms. the claps are hard and they shake the mouths standing over them. the claps are going to catch your head moving around here. in the center of a rented space. i break cloth by asking your voice dangling under water it doesn't swallow. i tie it back together through my pained face. there is a naked around here that says you can only see my boobs through the armholes in this dress. it is not a hole, it is a ditch. it is largely brown. the food leans out their skins. they feel over the edge. i feel it, two kinds of rind at the maim—one handwritten and the other written in shapes of the back and stomach, placed and pressed down like blue potato stamps. i feel it, two erosions at once. catching their arms around me like this. the pain cattle are wrapping themselves in big sheets and then standing up. tree pain means putting your arms around my hair and making it stand up. we are dangling under the bulb of a rented space. my chest drops from three stories to one. the river tries to stand up but is lost in its largely brown sheets. what did i ever think i would see through once i climbed inside? fishes that scare wet. fishes that stuck the heart rah raw out of you? fishes that can make out your side, your sheet pouring place, this rented space we paid good land to rub our vine pelts in? there are pieces of my chest in the water. words breathe through holes in their sides and boats foam in their slits. you choose the ditch as a spot to focus on. you clap your hands. the sound of your hands comes out of the holes in my sides. you put your ear to my sides. i liked you because you were so long inside you and i liked you because you were so trashed in the sink. i have not forgotten since what a harvested spill is, what a night foaming in its slit is. how bad i was at you with the cups of my hands. moon lips through his gauze. a fish loosens his voice in the middle of your hands about to clap. it looks just like a horn wrapped in a sheet, grazing. the sheet is trashed on so much mouth pulling at the earth's covers. the sound comes out of my sides and i am tempted to weep in a catchy way. the way a checkout girl would. the way a girl who has fired off a pop before would. the way a girl who can hold hands over her teeth fence would. my voice leaves a welt in the grass whenever i look at it while i'm talking. like it's been sitting there on its butt. i write a word in the grass while saying an unword like aahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. i die and come back to life a pain person. i die and come back to life a flower person. i die and come brackish to life a person who can slantwise sing dent music. i die and come brackish to life a river sugared with antler sheds who karaoke a word fishes territory to. i die, space, and come back to life, space, a stupid cow asleep. the letters drink a fifth of american grain, space, and groan with grass.

Carrie Lorig is a poet in Minneapolis, MN. She believes in red and in wonder. She believes in Gertrude Stein's ribs. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Forklift, OH, NAP, Jellyfish Magazine, and other places. A collaborative chapbook of political erasures w/Nick Sturm, Nancy and the Dutch, will be published by NAP.

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