Two poems by Felicia Zamora
we tinker with / otherness, securely in our jars; think distance of you; how in our chromosomes: / a code still carves inside us
This wild in which we
& the solitude of the snow leopard a top the Himalayan Mountains; to search
connection in the scent of rock faces, in urine of another; how we define
singular by relation to plural; a bellow when instinctual gather must occur.
Air, less thin here & yet; we obsess with uniqueness, with boundaries we chunk
ourselves into partitions: nations, politics, cities, races, religions; we in awe of
walls, of structure; fireflies in pull—of jars over our own heads—in stunt of.
Another snow leopard answers the female’s call; & what seclusion bores deep
into a being; claws distend & the leopards attack to near death; & of learned
violence in this mating scene; how survival changes in distort of.
What we understand of world behind glass; say observer; we tinker with
otherness, securely in our jars; think distance of you; how in our chromosomes:
a code still carves inside us, longs for interaction; what & how we prepare for.
& in the Andes Mountains, 4,000 meters above, a colony of flamingos; legs
freeze into the lake each night; how what we endure becomes a landscape
of us; in sun-stroked thaw, a parade of pink; beak after beak after beak held high.
How in species, say oh our delicate humanity, the lovely of gather; how we better
in other; say the we of we; & all jars stifle our breath, the voice of us in muffle
across barriers of our own making; let us unmake in instinct, say parade parade.
& in the body keeping
How do we empty
anything from memory?
An imprint depends on flesh
on tremors of electrical impulses,
depends on nervous—how idea
of system leaks in & out of
pores—& weight of indentation.
& if a blade? We lacerate:
sculptor becomes the sculpture.
How we carve mutates us. We splay
palms of etches we lick
to taste our identity, our hemoglobin;
we lick to record the taste; we lick
the wound of us: nation
of forgetting, nation of omission.
Where of the keeping? & mind
already in relay of here, inside, here.
How in the temporal lobe, we
all limbic murmurs, all hippocampi,
all mammillary bodies, O organs
bound to other organs, let us
memory out of other. Let us
praise the wholeness of cells
the humanity of the amygdala
the veins inside these limbs &
the ability to sculpt & to cut away.
Where keeping manifests biologically
how fingers recall the thread
into the eye; the artist stitches
with rhythm embedded in bone.
The needle all part of the process
burrows a hole, to patch to mend
through sheens of muscle, the body
inscribes this type of keeping, let us
whisper history to our forearms
& watch hairs rise in comprehension.
Felicia Zamora’s books include Of Form & Gather, winner of the 2016 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize (University of Notre Dame), & in Open, Marvel (Parlor Press), and Instrument of Gaps (Slope Editions). She won the 2015 Tomaž Šalamun Prize, authored two chapbooks, and was the 2017 Poet Laureate of Fort Collins, CO. Her poetry is found or forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Crazyhorse,jubilat, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, The Nation,West Branch, and others. She is Associate Poetry Editor for the Colorado Review and Education Programs Manager for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.