about the author

Christopher Lirette is a native of Chauvin, Louisiana. His work appears in Colorado Review, Pedestal Magazine, The Louisville Review, and others. He recently received an MFA degree from Cornell University, where he currently teaches. Before his current job, he has worked as an offshore roustabout, an archery instructor, a personal chef, and a bartender, and has also spent a year in Canada on a Fulbright grant. He lives with his wife, Linda, in Newark, New Jersey.

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Anthropology of the Unmoored

Christopher Lirette

Listen to surf gnawing our feet, islands
of silt and enough gears buried to strip
a machine of its guts. One machine
to account the water of its oars, one
for recording waste and the fluid spilled
beneath the carpet. When you read
the signs of my hometown, first douse
yourself with some hydrocarbon,
then whisper your request to tall grasses
or the wren, buy whatever is on sale
that day. In short, spike feet into mud
and let the body piling mark the way
for trawlers. Release teeth from the pier
so that we may have oysters next year.
Lubricate our vast store of pumps, for we
too need oils to loosen our veins. Look
for we are becoming dry as thistle.
Our skin has only slight foxing. At this
point, we have no use for food, except
by which to remember our lost ones.
Document the trajectory of the swinging
waterskin chafing our thighs, vessels
we ride in though they no longer untide us.

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