caption // capturing smoke

“How do you caption smoke?” She said: “You’d have to trap it first.”- Bhanu Kapil, Ban en Banlieue

Fingers on telephone keys, trying to find letters to make words to find you.

I am a tiny embroidered circle. I am using my hands and then yours to ride round and round myself. Make homes around myself. Make homes in myself.

Sometimes the work is avoiding the work, Liz says. Or: sometimes it is diving clear into it, no life boat or vest of a friend near by to pull me back out.

Sometimes I don’t want to come out.

Sometimes black holes are safest, no one can see me searching for homes in your skin. No one can hold me, my long-haired tendrils, waiting to be ripped out. Let go.

Sometimes letting go is the letting in. Sometimes letting in is the letting go.

Sometimes the actual. Sometimes the invert.

Sometimes I am riding on an ocean crest, your hand in my cunt and there is a demon-faced sheep or something watching us and sometimes I find that comforting.

Your hand in my cunt I find comforting.

I want all of your hands in my cunt, I want new hands in there, I want you to open me up so wide I never go back to being shut.

What about the bodies that can never be dead because they were never alive to start? Where do bodies go that were cast off along the way? How many am I still dragging around, afraid to cut loose?

Like peeling an onion, my breathwork teacher says. Just keep peeling, layer by layer she says. Peeling is hard because we don’t know what’s underneath; we’ve made it so we will never find out. Who has time for all that peeling and crying? But really. Who doesn’t have time for it? Sometimes we are worried there is no underneath, no core, that maybe we will get into the very interior of the body of the onion of the story and then poof. Not alive but not dead either.

A fellow survivor writer dearheart tells me that I haven’t even begun to speak of it yet. My advisor says Give me more. I keep wanting you to say more about the violence. Surely it has roots?

Sometimes the body of violence is living in every layer of the onion. Sometimes I imagine you, reader, already know them, smelled me out long ago and now if I tell you, spell it out, won’t this just be repetition? How afraid I am of repetition but really, what is life if not repetition. Moving forward, one stitch at a time, sometimes circling back, making a mistake, cutting out the knot, tying one off, starting over, new stitches going through holes already made.


1. Bhanu Kapil // Ban en Banlieue, her new book, 5/29/15
2. Liz Latty // writing date, 5/29/15

3. Erin Telford // Radiant Heart Breathwork, Maha Rose, 5/29/15

4. Aleksei Wagner // a bed, 5/23/15

5. devynn emory // just a chat near a park, 5/26/15

6. Lise Weil // Goddard College 3rd semester, Packet 2