Kelly Schirmann studied languages, personal thought patterns, and forms of apocalypse at UC Berkeley. She lives
in Portland, Oregon, and continues to do very little else.
saturdays the men took
the gunboat upriver, felt along
the mud and stone for her
arms. whatever was left
ate shit in the shallower water
where the roots marauded
around in the dark, piranhas
or their equivalents eating
what slept there in the tangle.
they’d never seen anything like
it: her. they struggled through
the cocoa leaves, took potshots
at bananas. her musk paraded
in the twilight, wearing a mask
of pollen. the plants, in turn,
could fertilize themselves.
in the ship’s log they scrawled
around, smearing each other’s
hard-felt renditions. they shared
nothing, hardtack, beating sun
making fevers from the blear.
her voice carried its weight
across another thinness;
another voice became heavy.
prodding the silty bottoms
with a smooth stick in the pant
of that jungle, the sick heat,
they collapsed her last letters
in their packets, a meaty crease.
every body stayed buried.
night hung itself slowly. a mouth
that opened & then closed.