Krysia Jopek


Layers

 

1. There are too many layers to examine properly. One by one, thin skins rip one’s face and fingers down to delicate flesh flowers, reminding we can’t forget apertures. The stutter of thunder, the shutter of wind and shadow. I am looking for a system of management, a filing system for all the broken bits that take hold for milliseconds then with the cardinal in my own forest, disappear. There is so much. I want to tell you.

 

2. The House is a collage on speed. At times, time is a multiplication of lost parts. I am trying to tell you things, but they (the things and things themselves) spill their borders, blur the mess. They bleed their paint when I turn my attention from particulars to other matter. When the scope is too immense.

 

3. Not to mention depth is to mention depth. The plummet of gut in one’s moth or hands, exposed like that. How embarrassing holding all one’s cards up to sky for rain to wash away the numbers and other traces of all that we have done. We must pace ourselves. We must say what it was like at the precipice looking out.

 

4. The others came to dig bounty beneath the surface of our widest imagination. The sky feathered her answer of birds and bee’s nest. No one was afraid. The layers peeled back disguises to kindness. I am telling you what it was like here. When I knew things with such certainty for which I am nostalgic already.

 

5. All that dust fills the eyes and lungs and our hearing. We have become mute as regards the impending winter. No one wants to say what the bottom dollar drives away, the ethics of explosion, emotion. The children play jacks and do not know their parents’ worry about maps and countries and laws. The trump card invisible for now though one pretends to guard.

 

6. The birds do not know us. The cardinal pair in their own ritual of apple-tree dance. Night finds us sooner with the cricket-cicada song lessening. Things were very bad for a time. The neighbors do not know. How the soul folds itself into origami math. How at times, everything breaks.

 

7. Yes, everything breaks, a shipwreck of the worst kind. We travel to the edge and hold tight to the stones in our trouser pockets, trading silence for our grievances. There is pride after all. When the sun falls orange again, we shall turn toward the memory core from which the layers are shorn. Exposed like that, some will draw guns, some will yell out to the universe.

 

8. Exposed like that, some crawl in fox holes to lick the wounds, press worry into glass beads, knead bread to fill the stomach and forget other things. How lost. How tragic the hero’s downfall again. How everything moves but stays in place somehow. Hos the light crawled inside the smallest of places. How the hurt animal behind the fence, acquiesced. (How someone could make one feel better for a while (theoretically)).

 

9. Without even looking, we know things. Then seeing, we see things we know and don’t know. That the body will be left underground.

 

10. Everything changed while I was sleeping.

 

11. The ground has shifted our common ground. Bending forever, the roads with their attendant anxieties. Imagination knows what might go wrong. Or right, one reminds the self so lost in its self-imposed shuffle. Newly lame, the dog smiles reluctantly at its owner. The eyes plead, “It is not time yet but soon.” And already painful nostalgia settles in.

 

12. It’s not time yet. Stuck in traffic and the clogged arteries of thought, the map out of the brain seemingly impossible. Holes cut out—no snowflake alike, no day, no journey. Study the butterfly drinking sun-nectar—still jumpy, but at home.

 

13. We have mapped a plan for you, but it involves some amputations of dead artery-limbs. Steady now. The rain washes our petty grievances.


BIO

Krysia Jopek has published poems in various literary journals, including The Woven Tale Press, Crisis Chronicles, Split Rock Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Phoebe, Murmur, Windhover and Artists & Influence, as well as reviews of poetry in The American Book Review, and a review of literary criticism in The Wallace Stevens Journal. Her novel, Maps and Shadows, was published by Aquila Polonica in 2010 and won the Benjamin Franklin Award in the category of Historical Fiction.