Friday, June 7, 2013

Poem of the Week: Amaranth Borsuk

Amaranth Borsuk              
Character Anatomy  
Few things the hand wished language could
do, given up on dialect's downward spiral:
words so readily betray things they're meant
to represent.

Words tasted like other things. Type refused
to look machined, showed the strokes that
unbalanced, grew spurs against stress, each
swash, spine, shoulder, tail a fresh mark of
the hand that had no hand in it.

Arms broken, tissue mangled, the hand was
ready to try body's cant: a disappearing text,
past and future pressed into skin's plies.
Grammar's ultimate loss: surface, each
nanosecond, dead and reborn in microscopic

Take take take take take -- that's how body
ensures its own survival. The hand couldn't
trust it long enough to decipher its cipher:
empty vessel with hands. The body had false
papers, could not be identified, clearly could
not represent. It didn't look like the pictures
anymore, would only sit still to be counted,
so the hand learned to trust numbers --
observable, firm -- needed something to
count on without fingers or toes now that
fingers and toes were gone. Fingers and toes
wouldn't cut it.

-Amaranth Borsuk   

Used by permission. 

From Handiwork: Poems, Slope Editions, 2012. 

Amaranth Borsuk is the author of Handiwork (Slope Editions, 2012); Tonal Saw (The Song Cave, 2010), a chapbook; and, with programmer Brad Bouse, Between Page and Screen (Siglio Press, 2012). She has a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California and recently served as Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at MIT. She currently teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics at the University of Washington, Bothell.

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