A Conversation in the Columbarium

by a contributor

Caroline Kessler

In the country of us, no one speaks the local language.
        We catalog the comings of the day, the goings
of the night with a few gestures. In our old country, I tried
        to be the flourish, a gold-sheen self that went out dancing every night,
tripped home every morning with whisky-hair and cottonhead, repeating
          the filthy things I muttered under sheets, outside a bar,
between cigarettes / I used them the next night
          and the next, because I could.

I did this again and again, spinning myself
          into something so unrecognizable, even to you.

When you ask me, which part of your body feels most neglected?
my answers come days apart, stilted:
          a nest of tapioca pearls I hold in my mouth
          legs straight, bending over in ragdoll pose, shaking my head
          a squeegee (wet from the shower) that I slide along my ribs

Caroline Kessler is a writer, editor, and facilitator currently living in south Berkeley. Her poetry and prose has been published in The Susquehanna Review, Sundog Lit, sparkle&blink, Superstition Review, Anderbo, and elsewhere. Stalk her online at carokess.com.

See Caroline’s list of 5 Things in our ongoing contributors’ series later this week.