Book 4, Series 3
The first time I heard the word, I saw her diving. From the cliffs of Kuttawa, her long arc into the lake they flooded a town to create. A fever so verdant it calls you by name. The water was vaguely green-edged that summer. Some algal bloom, which never hindered my sister. I never jumped. Not then. Years later, the fever came for me, blind in her wake. It called me by her name.
Poe said 'the death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.' I don't want it to be true, but here we are. Every elegy needs an author. And then, an autopsy.
In the decade after she died, my poetry became diagnostic, archaic, hysteric, mesmeric. This book is ossuary to a constellation of deaths, some sudden, all strange. It is also a catalogue of medical and mercurial oddities, curiosities that call forth the exquisite corpse hard at work beneath our living flesh. The echolalic duet between what is lost and what is left behind. The phantom limb. The wandering womb. The book bound in skin. The face that ghosts itself. The fever dream that ends in drowning. The writhing grace of speaking in tongues. The Holy Ghost, that only permissible husband in the unkempt dance of our girlhood. Home: our pale host to long winters and shared delusions, borne of boredom and endless grooming. The countless ways in which we coaxed our bodies into clothes and, later, coffins.
This is what I know, now. It is never banal to watch someone unfurl.
Come in, won't you? The grass is fine.