a body of work

one by one, I unhooked joints and / rearranged them at my feet in the living room.

a body of work
Photo by Luis Villasmil / Unsplash

by Salena Casha

Selected by S.T. Brant

when the outside waited for the end, I felt all of myself:
the torn meniscus of a swim injury,
the trip and fall in skates at age three,
the blooming bruise on an upper thigh.

one by one, I unhooked joints and
rearranged them at my feet in the living room.

the aches of the dining room chair turned intimate,
wood pressing through meat to bone
and I spent mornings tracking a swallow from
my throat to stomach,

everything closer than I previously thought.
everything older than I previously thought.

I hadn’t left for three days when the snow came
and drifted like ash outside the netted kitchen window,
each flake disappearing under the weight
of all the others that came after.

I understood, that year, what it was like to get to know
the furniture.

the marks of a knife taken
to the kitchen table wood,
nicks of unfinished bark.
I counted them before I fell asleep every night

just like we counted the days and deaths and breaths
that year.

they said it settled on surfaces and hung in the air
and I’d stick to the wall as I moved through rooms,
finding instead that grease colonized the counters,
oil coating cabinets and floors and driveways.

it was a year covered in film.
it was a year I saw the city better than I had my entire life.

my body left marks on cushions, fingerprints
smeared in sticky dust on the storm door.
when I saw my grandmother fifteen months later,
she didn’t rise from the couch.

and we both knew what it was like, trusting a body again
that could not stand the gravity of it all.


Salena Casha's work has appeared in over 50 publications in the last decade. Her most recent work can be found on Pithead Chapel, Scrawl Place, CLOVES, and trampset. She survives New England winters on good beer and black coffee. Follow her on twitter @salaylay_c