The Body as Chorus, the Chorus as One
Director sticks two fingers in my mouth.
Says, the teeth should be a cherry’s width
apart. The mouth’s perilous O from which
the body grows, secondary & vestigial.
The body like water around a thrashing
fin. A mouth growing more exposed without air.
Told not to fish for notes, I’m red. Redacted.
A filament fused. Director says,
the hips should draw down. The spine stairways,
a column of clouds. My head, lifted on
a string. Learning how the body accepts
placement: pulled, plucked. Choral lines rigid
as hallway busts. Stuffed—our skin arranged
for display—a special kind of silence
for the rictus that offers only
what another’s hand portrays. I learned
to exhale without fogging the glass
placed in front of my face—crystalline
in control. My voice a kettle of hawks,
circling what twitched below. This game I played
with eyes closed felt like hunting, the way
hunting feels like wanting to be caught.
A cycle that frays closer & closer,
violence at its end. Each little adjustment
made. Like a beak combed through feathers, like
a beak combed through bone. Detail makes effort
unseen—a perfect seam. Empty remains
a wing shrouds over—brutal cavern…
& what is my mouth once its smile only spreads
on request? Feathers pressed into background
measure. A song emerges from this frieze.
Is it sweet,
is it piercing in its cry?