Elisabeth Bletsoe



like the memory of water
an interstitial filtrate
        between stones, within speech

the weight of absence,
of meaning implicit in

                              these empty spaces

reading you in
reading between the lines
absorbing small shocks of recognition that
        ripple back
from some projected future conflux;
sound-patterns skimming the surface like
        the dreams of fish

my interoceptors resonant with
vast electrical slippage
        down the sky,
avalanches of invisible lightning;
shifts in tectonic weather through which
I strive to detect your undersong
        in each volution,

to discover your cipher that
        I envisioned as
underwriting the disjuncted chancel, this
footprint of a drowned house,
        the seagrass meadows
"dotted with pulpy creatures
a silvery & spangled radiance

threads of occluded syllables
that bind me to the locale by
"strange & injurious ties"
        dissolve to
symbols like marks made by gulls in the sand

exploring the contextures of this
                              (a nail in the vertex)
the exquisite salting of wounds

with each word I spoke
I was becoming less the person
        you imagined,
a second biography encrypted
beneath my skin:

as if I had left my heart behind in the wrong place

as if my lungs were too low and that something was growing out of my sides

as if I were in a cave of unknowing

as if a distance could be measured between hollow and holy

as if my chest were full of tears

as if my bubble were slowly bursting

as if there were a need for a lighthouse so we knew where we were

as if the third star were missing and I found it at the bottom of the bed

as if a light spiralled upward and opened my head; the dandruff of old snapshots showering down

as if on your own you really do hear voices in the tide

as if I were so isolated I could have walked into the lake

as if water swallows light

as if a central sadness coalesced in the sternum

as if the lights were switched off when I was halfway up the stairs

as if I were trapped between white sheets

as if there were something lodged in my throat like chalcedony

as if the air had twelve edges

as if my head felt hot like a bird with high fever

as if a pain formed in my face in the shape of a bill

as if I were to start a soul-journey of a thousand and one days

as if while painting the ceiling white the marriage felt like a mourning

as if the moon had assumed the fullerine structure of consciousness

as if my cream silk clothes were covered in a huge clot of blood

as if a baby with bulging eyes were trying to suckle through its beak

as if I had broken an egg in my hand; a tiny white bird detached from its yolk, breathing

as if this brackish lagoon were lipped by languages I was reluctant to translate

as if in a dream subsisting on eel-grass among Siberian refugees

as if I were cutting apart two fish that were joined at the tails

as if a stigmatic inflorescence sprang from my right palm

as if there were a pulsating code at the base of the spine

as if white mucus dribbled from one nostril

as if a series of cuts had formed on the high arch of the palate

as if the coles feminus were coated in pearl

as if I woke with the scrape of feathers between my legs

as if I were laying on folded wings

straying into the fault zone
as westerly cliffs of shear evolve
        points of collapse;
your leave-taking abandoned me
poised on the brink of a conversation
for which I now dis(re)member the
scratches of light dissecting
the ridge of Corallian beds
        once formed in clear shallows

suffering attrition, a trituration
        becoming trite
detritus fetched up by the
overwash of storm-surge:
marine transgressions
inventing/reinventing my
as the beach rolls slowly
        over itself
red & black chert, jasper, tourmalinised

locus of transitions
a constant state of mutagenesis;
dialogue perpetually rehearsed
        but never spoken
tracing whole sentences
on the roof of my mouth with
                              my tongue
glossing over details that
you will neither read nor hear:

the inverse reflection of a tower cloud
in a drop of rain on a reed-blade,
a floating quill plastered
to the smoothness of stone,
defence-posts of small bunting territories;

the capriciousness of the revealed world

my cell plasma preserving
        (it once was said)
a saline imprint of
                              that original sea

        all things tending towards solution

"tiny cuspate spits of gravel, limestone slab
        shells &
                              a little sand"

        the residew be sparkelid


                              Abbotsbury swannery; Chesil and The Fleet