Self-Portrait as Lazarus Species
As a child, I ached to be undone,
to feel origin & birthcry, to be one of the chosen,
marked by the soft tongue of the earth.
But all in its time, said the universe—I promise
I will make good on the small coughs of bells,
will darken your face with ginger & loam.
A man will pick you, lemon from tree,
string rail ties across your ankles
& stunt these decades of lightness.
Your body, still small, will attend to his,
but your pupils, larynx, will slit him to shard
as he cuffs you to yourself, flies away with the key.
Only then will your life become slender,
opening with a creak, opening to show
that all you’ve ever been is cloud,
is ryegrass & anemone, that all things in the sea
become the sea, that your waves part only to take in
the sour tremble of your wholeness.
106 The Paris-American
Karissa Morton holds an MFA from Bowling Green State University, where she currently teaches courses in creative writing & composition. She is also poetry editor & co-founding editor of Revolution House Magazine. Her recent poetry & essays can be found in the Indiana Review, The Rumpus, & ILK, among others.
Next week's poet:
Ruth Ellen Kocher