And at the end there were dahlias covered over with boards, one window choked with light. And at the end I'm alone in this room of my body wanting to be born. The floor, mishandles by weather, is dusk prying dirt from stone - my back, shoulders, belly and over it, the story of light becoming light, window through which what is hardly recovered burns. Is it instinct to climb toward a light that perjures? This autumn, I tested each river I passed with things made more beautiful by dirt - tinder cropped from pine, cat skull, shoe the size of my heart. Each was a scrap of summer heavy enough to crack the surface. Air skimmed the liminal entry of ice and water, sucking in and breathing out what only looked like animals. I had not yet learned that weather, like violence, is recursive - I kept watching one body sink into the cold supple story of another. I kept throwing things away with the water. Once my mother stood in a kitchen wanting her father to see her. Once my mother cut her wrists for her father to see some part of himself coming out of her skin. My father climbs the heaven-studded boundary of his skin and my body like stairs of my childhood, rye-grass staining the knees of jeans, juniper gardens camouflaging rocks. Years after his suicide I see waxwings eating past the tundra of ancestry, to berries fertilized by their own droppings. The years without him made bone-fields of birds who late in the season, remain to tongue the berries seasoned with gin, the bitter default of stout honey. Leave me fallow, leave me nether-bound; no fire can reach my roots and hold on. Leave me snow-tendril, leave me switchgrass; I delve to where roots are becoming-bodies, waiting to let go: last time I held my childhood in my hand like a caught waxwing, butter-soft and thrashing, last time I loved something enough to fail both of our bodies, last time I opened my mouth and all that come out was waxwing vacuous and loose as a summer afternoon not made of want. I learned to fold each throat-call into my blouse so it wouldn't stray with pine needles, memories of bonfires, my father's callused hands cupping a cigarette, hot part toward the palm, thumb and pointer holding the filter - only way to keep the wind from making another casualty. It doesn't matter that childhood can't moderate the moon's silver reaching years later, when I touch another man's body, so I run my hands over dusk taking its mirage of emptiness with it, birds too injured to migrate under azalea bushes, waiting to die. It must feel tight, the way one expects more from a body trapped between cold and the pressure of tinder, not like cigarette filters spent and flicked to fire. The moment was released each other to the room of our own bodies was the moment I learn to hold what dared to bloom there in my mouth - I said save instead of salve, began again, said rage instead of rouge, these words spoken in the tongue of small failing things - I said farther instead of father, hole instead of howl - buried them until the frost became dahlia blossom, luminous material growing from earth that once burned. And I'm left with dahlias, deluges, ladder to nowhere but the sky. And I know wood is stronger when stressed along grain, not girlhood. Under the floorboards the dahlias listen, waiting to become lies themselves. You'll never see them in the space between my name and other rootless things - junipers growing on rocks, birds clinging there instead of suffering, they'll never show you we are all lies of longing too integral in the ruse to proceed otherwise. so I dissect their stories from my story until reason is my deficit language, not this desire to be touched.
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Corroborations 2012 was held at the University Libraries, The University of South Dakota, from January 20 – May 4, 2012. The Corroborations 2012 exhibition paired USD visual arts and poetry majors in order to create new collaborative work and to both broaden acceptance and appreciation of alternative art disciplines.