The Lens:

Strewn somewhere are trees growing from the remnants of their bodies, scattered like seeds around the world. At each place, I take a snapshot, a soil sample, postcards: an elongated in breath without the out. There is a race to all of this, across the globe I am working myself towards.

A Shift:

Cells and molecules linked to myself, a global connect-the-dots. We have been transported, transfused, glued to suburban outlets and city pavement, we have erased the flesh of the flesh of the flesh walking the earth:

Here, in a Russian Jewish restaurant in Herzliya we eat the foods they would have fed us, had their hands been able to reach the distant shores, had they been able to stay in the lands whose foods they wove like tapestry beneath fingertips. We reach for the pickles, our hair touching for a moment, frizzed curls meeting cousins separated by continents and elders we could have loved who could not live through the barbed wires, elders who loved us but never each other again. 

The Red Cross

the Red Cross came to the door, you said,
living in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge,
the letters crossing continents unanswered,
the men at the door,
your five year old self,
the weight of all those bodies,
the waters your father emitted, once,
before handing you their remnants,

the bodies you’ve handed to me now in your demise,
the weight you carried with your six feet
no match for my five foot one frame. 

Skin Moving Against Skin

Cracking the chest open, again, searching for the fleshy parts of myself drunken with desire, like those nights, dark Brooklyn streets where I found the parts of myself I had been denied as a child.

You, cold, put on my coat, fake fur collar, becoming Travolta to my zaftig. I squeeze myself into your jacket, fabric made for girls like boys, stretching itself into burlesque, porn.

You're a diva you say in the cold and you are squeezing my hand, laughing, delighting, both, in this lens with which you had always seen me.

How long has it been since I've seen your vision?

I have not yet extended myself empathy.

I still wait for letters that will never come.

There is a starkness to all of the beginnings and endings of one lifetime. With speed, moving, until alone, there is only wilderness.

Tell me a story and I will tell you a story. I have given too many stories away for free, never imagining the prices to be paid for transparency. I no longer bother with concerns of authenticity. What you have told me, in a certain light, is true.

I found myself closing my eyes, allowing the rhythm to pull me, to seduce me away from thoughts of future disasters, of lives torn by torture, the terror of what they saw and what I could not explain through tongue to palate, or skin moving against skin.

Tell me a story, you ask. And we begin.

Poetry, by Amy Tziporah Karp