The Landscapes of our Bodies by Julia Klatt Singer

The Landscapes of our Bodies

Green covers anything stone sky or dirt it can take hold of. Only the clear water moves quick enough to keep it from taking root in it too—although from here, from the bridge, we see the greens reflected in it, swimming swiftly down to the bend—a curve like a woman’s hip—and another that takes it out of our view. I remember standing near my mother, how she’d talk and laugh, laugh and talk, and how the material of her skirt, cool and cotton, beckoned me to slip under. Standing with her legs, I felt like I’d enter a forest world all my own. How old was I? One and a half? Two? It hadn’t been that long since I’d left the world of her body. You tell me this is your landscape, this oak and grass and wildflower dotted rolling hill terrain. Black raspberries. Sumac. Mullen. Thistle. Ash. Somewhere a stream that leads to a river that leads to a bigger river that leads to a sea. Somewhere toads hatch and crayfish hunt. You pluck a black walnut, hold its hard green body to my nose. It smells astringent, like something my mother used to clean. I remember the smell of her blood. How she left a pool of it on the kitchen floor. Even after it’s been cleaned up, I picture the thin line, like the outline of a new continent, on the parquet floor. I lean against the iron railing, I lean against you. You smell like wood, something hard and true. Its been thirteen years and still it feels so new. I remember her favorite color was green.

by Julia Klatt Singer


Editor’s Note: The imagery in this prose poem slowly creates an emotional landscape that starts with the world outside, and ends with the indelible ties that bind us together within ourselves.


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