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May 2023
I think about purity;
the way I allow things in and out of my mouth in different rhythms-
sometimes gnawing, sometimes cramming,
sometimes clawing back up with bile and belief
until I feel empty enough to try again.

I can’t put any of it into words.
I can’t write short poems.
I over-explain. I overwhelm.
I over-draw and they oversee.
I start to stake but there’ll
always be things I can’t do-
or, I mean, things I won’t do.
That’s a lie.
I try, try, try
to feel alive.

I like the secret,
tipping towards transgression,
tidal, treading.
Nothing in me belongs anyway;
every piece is trespassing-
breaking and entering,
bouncing on chicken wire,
listening for sirens.

Nothing in me is solid enough.
I’m so many stanzas in and out-
each with its own wavering threshold,
each dependent on someones waffling regard.

Water around here isn’t clear,
puddles and streams pulse with
mud and leaves,
trash and scuttley insects.
My reflection exists only,
behind a layer of milky film
and unclean things.
Things from nature.
Things alive.
Things also pure.

Purity like looting
when the wires are down,
like a cracked mirror,
a stagnant pond,
perfunctory ***,
and slow-seeping Lyme
thinning your legs and hollowing your eyes.

Trying a new rhythm; things still in,
still out,
but better aimed.
Still trying, still living,
still too many words,
and still not empty.
Never empty.
Never impure.
Kiernan Norman
Written by
Kiernan Norman  Connecticut
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