I watch a blurry video of oil, ink-like, spurt up from floor tiles while a man withdraws his money from an automatic teller.
After the storm, I step on a buried bird at the beach. Soft as a loaf of bread.
As the raw of dawn develops, I hear the alarms of others. Metal against metal.
Everywhere I go, I click agree, consent to cookies.
I post an image of the old Tostitos jar I found washed up on the beach, MILD and CHUNKY, rusted lid still holding in gray liquid, and the violinist I met years ago in Montreal, the one with the secretly Kurdish grandfather, writes me.
Open it, he says. Says, it clearly wants to merge with something bigger.
The website says it hopes to continue to exchange as much information with me as possible.
The earrings came to me on accident, addressed to Mary Gooden but stuck in the fold of my mail. Hoops of false silver sent from the Gulf, and I never send them back.
When the avocado was ascendant, doctors saw a sharp rise in wounds to the palm. I read it somewhere: the fruit in the hand, the blade through its skin into skin.
The cold, for now, has frozen all the sand in place, and I can tell my own tracks from the others in the dunescape from the way my feet point outwards. A sort of private network.
Outside my window, Laura stands half in, half out, dumping sand out of her boots.
Who will pore over my traces when I’m gone?
Iraq, I try, when the doctor asks where I’d been living, and Kurdistan won’t register.
Iraq, I say, Iraq? And finally I shift the vowels, say it how I know she’ll understand.
She points to where my waves jump seismically and says, see this? Your brain is getting a little squirrelly here.
And confirms this as potential origin of brain fog.
Eartha’s pixelated repost reads:
YOU ARE NOT READING THIS
THIS IS YOUR SIGN THAT EVERYTHING
IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT.
Somewhere in my body was a body.
The year was whittled down to weeks when found out.
The year was the year I had published a book, which isn’t the same as writing one, and worse.
When I read from it before the public, it was in a Zoom room.
It was my own face I saw as I read, my own eyes my eyes met.
The cover of the book was a distorted face, and that is how my body felt, too: in pixels.
I felt I had more blood in me. My dogtooth ached when I drank hot tea.
My cells of me felt magnetized, and also very banal. A new freckle on my nipple.
Baby doesn’t like, I started saying, when the drilling of the new deck went on and on.
Baby likes, I said, when I liked anything.
The source of all change, a pregnant emptiness, according to the poets.
On the internet, I watched a woman style her hair in 500 years of hairstyles, totally gripped.
Songs I hadn’t heard in years appeared in my mind, and when I played them, I wept.
And I wept when I read of a child’s capacity for grief.
And I wept when I watched pony rehab.
My body, so body, recited the poet’s daughter.
My body. And my not-body.
TRACY FUAD is the author of PORTAL (University of Chicago Press, 2024), which won the Phoenix Emerging Poets Prize, and about:blank (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021), which won the Donald Hall Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY, The Paris Review, The New Republic, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. She is a 2023 National Endowments for the Arts Fellow, and has received support for her writing from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Berlin Senate, Callie’s, and Hedgebrook. She lives in Berlin, where she teaches poetry at the Berlin Writers’ Workshop.