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Kelly Andrews

Anything Unstoppable and Near

after Carl Phillips' "Cortège"

What is the sound of his body?

Sifting flour falling on a metal sheet
or a leaf underfoot. I wanted to know
the feral burning of skin, the brittle crushing
of bone as dried tulips in a fist.

How did you know one another?

We buried a polished rib in the loam.
A stitched lung coarse as sugar could only
ever fail. My body, a small replica
of freckled skin laid bare.

What did you say to him?

You are an ephemeral stitch
I can't stop pulling, a necessary
thread I won't miss until unraveled.

Describe what it felt like.

Watching blood from a ruptured vein spread,
hail pummeling windshields, anything
unstoppable and near.

What do you remember?

The movement of clouds
across an indescribable blue,
the bunching of a cotton shirt.

Where is he now?

Below my sternum, a tree is budding
and I can hear the branches sway.
It grows and grows.

Mire Without End

In blushed and bruised crevices
I embroider my name on your skin

while you sleep. Let you wrap me
in a whalebone bodice and squeeze

until the fillings in my teeth
fall into the cedar chest. Maybe

I would be your housewife,
tie fern to the trellis in the shape

of my mouth just after your touch
or spend my days like the starlings

building a nest for eggs the shade
of lapis lazuli. I could be alight

or longing for flight and fumbling
in your tangled limbs, a listlessness

that gives way to shudder and spite
among shards of painted porcelain.

I could be malleable in anyone's
hands, a mire without end.

➥ Bio