Isabel Balée

From “Land of Eroded Womb”

***

what else lies
in this ruin —

i birthed
oscillating
nothingness

from my
second self

who carries
the deluge

& asks
for complete
erasure —

***

on a granite
crucifix

found in
the lawn

of a cremated

cathedral

i etched
her name

with the

knife
i held

where milk
once flowed —

***

enclosed center —

porous drain —

ancient stars
lose their
light

& loss is

pulsion—

choral

chest
buried

under
stones 

& finally

nothing

at all—

***

walking
backward

marshes
starve

under
sanded
tombs —

i wake to

what is this

accidental
aqueduct

valley
ravine —

glass city—

wrought iron

lungs sewn
shut —

***

skin my

sleepless
ghosts

holding
the knife
to my center

who will clean me

& come ripping

the aorta
out & resew

split
roads

of failed
womb

where i lie
prone —

Green Fields

***

in which shape
is my body
hyperrealistic

not knowing
where to look            

how    

excessive

am i
exposed

like this
cathedral’s
plumage         

thickly            
sown.

to walk over              
water  

i must be
absent
from

dimensionality —

parenthetical

harbor —        
birds rustle                       

safely 

in pear trees —

within a series
of buildings

& a single
geography      

there lies

a closure

not meant
to be read

not entirely.

Riverbend

***

from the 9th floor window

we unburdened the room’s

hypoxia

onto barges floating

viscously along

the crescent,

anemic

 

& sunken

abdominal

land became

Gulf & algae

 

as we looked to

vast blue

for an answer

to the death

we tried

to medicate

dredging  faith

to prevent further

flooding

 

what arises

here

 

white flowers

emerge on stalks

in dead cypress

forests

 

nothing can be done

 

lungs effuse

& pogonia trembles

below               screaming

brother

into the phone

& open water,

skyline, lung,

salt water intruding

estuaries & river

reaching wetlands

we drank the

flooding from runoff

said

do not resuscitate

when

i was still holding

her hand

Author Statement

Language fails.

 

My work has always been interested in failure.

I break open language to process my own losses: that of my home, New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina; that of Louisiana, due to coastal erosion and the failure of the state; that of my mother. My body remembers grief and trauma. My text is a projection of this lacerated body. I subject my work to depression.

I hope to shape language around the void, to map slippages between impulses, to ask the reader to investigate what’s missing. This inclines me to the divine - the inexplicable.

We do not have language for this.

Isabel Balée

Isabel Balée was born and raised in New Orleans and has roots in Belém do Pará, Brazil. Her work is forthcoming in Cosmonauts Avenue, Ghost Proposal, and Littletell. You can find her at ibalee.tumblr.com

 

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