Two Poems, by Emily Skillings

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rose-crowned night girl

I am pointless. This I come to know,
by pressing ear to night’s machinery.
Outside, the words rub each other
until they are dull: calibrate, resurface,
surface, invest, investigate, snowy, open,
environ, woman, wooden, system.
I look where little nodes of language cling,
lichen-like, to what will have them.

The air framed beyond the high window
is an invitation. I could grab something.
Sample the pie and salad. I could recite
what I play at knowing, be disassembled
by an institution or human person,
could get inside a tree and take up position
as one who with her yellow eye stalks form.

I didn’t know I was looking for it, but sure
but sure. A chemic silver, a thought
darting through another’s wet plumage.
Must I convene myself again?
And it is mournful, the recognition
of one’s own phrase—a headless fish,
width of some finger, writhing,
cemented there.

 

an environmental poem

I think to send pictures
of the brick-colored ones
spotted and
with stalks fatter than their little heads
to the amateur mycologist
with the questionable beard.
He told me to read a book
called The Extended Mind
and how a bird’s nest
is considered by certain experts
to be an extension of its brain and being.
Or was it its DNA? I can’t be entirely sure
as the great lawn stretches before me
waving me out
until it is interrupted by the road
full of the ghostly trails
of parcels and people
and what carries them
each journey an underline that reinforces
like a fattening braid of habitual fibers
its being there. How awful
there is a road before me.
How awful there is a house behind me.
Its bottles and food,
dulling syrups, devices, its chemicals,
the imprisoned plants and shapes
of yielding plushness, paintings
of the sea. Must one climb back into its clutches?
The coverlet white and cloying as foam.
The other option is to go “somewhere.”
But that is where that lizard bitch lives
with her rich step brothers, the floods,
to carry her. I wear a silk garment
studded with miniature islands
receding into a turquoise ocean.
Inside, the climate control leaps into action.
A tracking number moans into my palm.
Today I have tried to make a poem a trap
of twigs and mud, where I am encased
and decay. I press against the walls
until they are curved by my breast
which pricks against the sharpness
of what I’ve collected
producing little pains, open words,
constellations that touch no myths,
futureless calligraphies.
Until my robe is shredded.
Until the blood weeps down.

 is the author of the poetry collection Fort Not.



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