Poetry » Dominika Bednarska »

Palm Up

The heart should be offered as the Holy Eucharist, stacked upon palms in the most intricate manner. I am strangled sufficiently by my own supplication, and so now I must mime this happy medium of good enough, and not so bad, and maybe, and maybe, when he wins my … my winning win, I can lie back and flourish the colors in the section marked middle, between my breath, in and out- of order. So you sling slide breathless up there where you thought the poems more plentiful, and the punctuation sparser, only to find we want to publish what we can not perish, because the poems sewn of poems that come from the exact position of bodies that you could not trace and retrace just so, are the poems we discard like scraps, because I can be anyone, and so why chose one of the ones we have already asked to be quiet, and would ask to sit down, if well, they weren’t the source of so much throat clearing. So clear all our minds, and say this is too specific, poetry is meant to mean without meaning so much, like when one says “I love you” and means, “I enjoy having sex with you and want it to continue at my convenience” or “We are related, and I may need help moving, or money at some point.” The page, prone to tears in skin and tissue, pulsates for us too, nevertheless. I want to leave it here, so you can hold it, palm up, on your own terms.

To Maura, About Hands

Maura says hands are what make us human. It is the last line in one of her poems. It is a poem about fucking, describing slicing apples as obscenely public erotica. I heard her say it out loud the night I remember first really meeting her.

It did not happen all at once. When I first noticed the odd tingling, the tingling I feel as I write this, I told people. I told Maura. She laughed and said, “At least you are not mute.” I laughed too, but worried. After the doctor tells me no hands, which means no writing, typing, dancing, or walking, because I use canes. Because I use my hands to walk. I am mute. I can no longer speak. There is too much water and noise erupting from me and from my mute numb hands.

No one will be scared with you, they will ask for a diagnosis, offer vitamins, tell you about the brother’s mother’s sister’s cousin who had it, or say it will go away, I mean, it’s not like you use your hands all the time. Sometimes I do have to correct them and say, yes, actually I do, and I have to do this without coming undone. Because no one will hold you when you do and say I don’t know either.

Maura, you will tear this writing apart if you ever see it, the way my tendons fail to repair themselves again and again. I will pass over this piece, unable to make it less raw, unable to apply heat because it won’t bring down my swollen, inflamed words, passing through a hand, already choppy, blurry and misspelled.

I am sorry, poem. I am sorry, hands. Pands hoem. I don’t know how to slice you, each a scalpel apart. How do we talk about fucking without the body, without hands? How do we talk about writing without a thumb pressing into the pen so these words won’t die, fruit flies in our heads?

If these words are not my hands, then these hands are not my words. If these hands do not write, they hit the keyboard or press play or someone else’s hands, your hands. Can you tell which is which?

I don’t know anymore, Maura. I don’t know about hands anymore than creams or pills or a protein diet, I only know that your poem that has always left me uneasy now makes me teary in a way you did not intend.

Shower, Morning After the Olympics

I woke up and took a shower without
cuts on my feet without having to
without almost falling.
and having to balance with only one hand on a small thin pole,
that holds the showerhead up
The door to my room now opens and closes
like veins and arteries (and things of that nature.)
It was once believed that washing up
would kill you but nevertheless
I take a long shower sitting down.
I breathe in and out.
I like the way we survive all of us who do
this is something you don’t know
going in
that there is always beauty in almost not existing
in making an art of each scrape you acquire
in moving the only way you can
in moving only
the way you can