Abandon (Originally Published by Five Points: A Journal of Literature and Arts)
I want to draw myself naked, a dancer shedding silk scarves, but I am new to art and though I can sketch my face—two eyes with dark circles under them, long sharp nose, pursed prune of a mouth—my body is unknown to me, at least from the outside. I take off my clothes, look down and see curving scar cutting what used to be my navel in two like a neighborhood forever divided by an interstate highway. Far below, my big toes, the right stiff throbbing with arthritis as I lean forward to see my own legs. I feel my body more than see it. The two optic nerves nothing compared to the thousand in every inch of my skin, in the 100 million behind those scars in my stomach, in the ones shouting in that damn throbbing toe. Without the pain, I might guess this body was abandoned, roof caved in, stairs to the front door missing and the door long gone as well. But I am it. And so, leaning over, I draw the long uneven line of my right leg down to my toe. Unsteady ink ballerina. Then I stand there.
Broken (Five Points: A Journal of Literature and Arts)
I fall asleep in the tube having an MRI. The warm blanket just puts me right under, no matter the banging which is like being inside a metal can while someone beats on it with a baseball bat. Last night, I went to a party and friend told me she dreamed I taught her to make toast. Now I can I have tea and toast every morning for breakfast, she said. My room at the Comfort Inn has a large wheelchair accessible shower. And—a jacuzzi next to the bed. Just in sunken into the carpet, not even surrounding by tile. I think it is their handicapped accessible / honeymoon suite. I am not on my honeymoon. At the party, we were happy. All night. All of us. In the morning, I go to the museum andthere is a video installation calledGrandfather Clockinside the face of a grandfather clock. The card next to it says, “Our tastes change as we grow older but the museum captures time.” Inside the clock, the artist uses a crayon to add the hands, then he rubs them away. I would not say he is saying the museum captures time. I think he is saying time is an illusion. Or that, like me, time is broken. At the party, there are enough sweets for everyone.
Ms. Jesse Kercheval is a poet, writer, translator and comic artist.
She is also a Creative Writing Professor at UW-Madison and Editor of the Wisconsin Poetry Series
can be reached @
Website: jlkercheval.com