Liz Howard | Excerpt from “Archaeology”

ARCHAEOLOGY: noun
ar· chae· ol· o· gy | \ är-kē- ä-lə-jē \
variants: or archeology
1: a stratigraphic sampling from the groundwork of
personal time

 

i.) OCT ’09 – MAR ’10

 

On origins:
make nice with the river
Cells desiccate, dissolve, another year lost
Some are named for flowers,
the failure of morning to remain,
Victorian morals
and dead queens
In the dream I’m on a rural road
and take the ditch
Here is the working class,
a railway, an open museum
of creosote and timber
The topography was service
How viable a strategy
for me, a simple animal
Natura non facit saltum

 

ii.) APR ’10 – JUN ’10

 

The orange canoe S sealed me into
X’s voice is the creek by the baseball field
“I take the spatial concept of heaven seriously”
Red fibre and tallow in May
Succumb to rain and strangers
I assay in chemicals an ovum unknown
The river of stolen bicycles
and all the kittens of welfare

 

iii.) SEPT ’10 – OCT ’10

 

Even the tree bristled a proxy for sheltered evening
The cause tumbled out into the grouping
The future was something liquid
and inert taking from its branches
Voltairine and the thermal husbandry
of subversion
Did the freakish ecology lift you?
Hunger. Cigarettes. Shiraz. Cymbalta.
I could lie in bed like Descartes
Sections of brainstem stained violet or aquamarine
I lulled within the fortune of your sorrow
then relived myself on your lawn.
In childhood
find a small rubber head
of a horse in the forest
working its way sideways
into the soil

 

iv.) FEB ’11 – AUG ’11

 

“Death lines every moment of ordinary time,”
while on my own porch some days ago I said
aloud to myself “platitude, portmanteau,
Jean-Jacques Rousseau.”
Not all my shacks were oneiric, not all in summer
Small mammals along the narrow logging road
My mother sits by the stove smoking menthols
My grandfather tried to put out the fire
but the baby remained in the structure

 

v.) APR ’12 – AUG ’12

 

“I only think as far as I read”
Intermedullary rod, plates, screws
—fixed to bones in my body that is a red couch

I pushed it through a hole in my jaw
Sic transit gloria mundi
immanentizing the eschaton
we, the siblings
born with bricks in our mouths

 

vi.) 2012–2013

 

I’m just a tenant in the guide to semblance
If I am my own double-bind
“experience is a hoax”
who buried her children
the teacher stands at the chalkboard
the number 5 is a postman with a fat belly and cap
bones surfaced in the mud during flooding
mandibles loosened from skulls like a gasp of air
the silence was uterine
is this an Indigenous
or occidental dream?

 

vii.) 2013–2014

 

We are all inevitably
interlocutors of the slaughter
Hear your clinic, hear it clear
I enter your book and someone laughs
A pile of sentences to bring in for the winter
Here is the neural tube foresting its moment
I understand now I must choose a shore to speak to
An unabridged conference call with the sky
Staging
Depths of field
Walking down the highway towards town
“Enter quickly, as I am afraid of my happiness.”
I’ve lost your address.
In any moment I is an iterative contingency.
The world has already destroyed me.
A lilac oratory.
I date myself.

 

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