Fundamental Physical Constants For Joanne

Jennifer Hill Kaucher
Copyright © A HREF="">Jennifer Hill Kaucher
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

At her desk the world is slow, the sun warms her back
and plates lean lightly in their grooves on the hutch.
A veneer of peach juice glistens on her forearm
as she rolls the pit lazily under her tongue.

It doesn't matter what she writes, or even if it's hers.
Quote, unquote, borrow, steal, the words will come
and with the typewriter she will play piano again --
same pattern of finger, key, hammer
the mechanical rise and fall of solid metal arms
leaving, without apology, the dark permanence --
a stain on translucent skin, the old mark.

She thinks: Your body remembers it's struggles.
When you grow up with brothers you will bear sons.

Once a fine structure of hair, teeth, bones
it seems her body becomes more unfamiliar daily,
forgetting and tiring of its general chemistry and untended gardens of cells.
She wonders: Without skin, what will be left to remember this struggle?

Plants are divided at the funeral, leaving to grow in the light of other windows.
The oldest brother finds her letters, stamps them, sends them anyway.
No one sits down to nose through her journal. They avoid the desk
with its typewriter and humid papers - her voice a bruise of ink.