Lauren Caldwell



One year ago: costumes mark out a trajectory
through transit-lines and wires, waves. But
there have been so many millstones along this

path since then. I cede it to a new other who
may sweep away these echoes: growing old.


Crouched in the subway, waiting – the brain
makes music again of these mechanics, of the periodic
winds. Three days thread between restless

sleep in in-between times back into the slow
movement south and a shower.


Lucite has settled down around my eyes, into the folds
of my mouth. Seeing is not grasping, though there
is a rich litter of time upon the earth that etches

the lines of your hands into craggy trees that speak
to each other and refuse other musics.


Some other self of mine has set traps for the unwary traveller.
Another moves through the corridors with a fine set
of flags, but such cleverness fails beneath stiff waves

that cannot still or settle, having it be enough. To be the splinter
in one's own palm: feedback loops. Escher knew.


Neural pathways no longer trace out the old maps; ink
decays in light. Our spliced wires tear, retract, patch back
into the deep mesh of familiar hardware. There is no conduit –

I cannot sync myself in/to you. Always a little shorter
than your wavelengths, straining to slow in time, a train-wreck.


High heat, measured: the metal gives.
Alongside other forms twisted against the force
of old tension suddenly undone, there is room

enough to cool and harden
beneath the glass.


All of the old stories stretch up, pressure
the face of the waters. Long fingers of dead
time drag down the sailor. Deep down away

in the earth, there is ice like the centre
of mind – frozen paths carved out by wind.




I'm tired of swallowing this. I'll bite. You: some bruises, some sweet reminder I'll leave you. Shaky & haggard. Pulling out the middles leaves you with thirds. Pull out the middle of those left: eviscerate it inside out: mechanical, perfect, elegance of the infinite series, eradication of chaos—o, some slight paradox, scalpel. Hush: the mind falls into a rhythm in this. Mercy. No. Recursion.