Elegy for the Ignorance of Nudity

by Kristina Martino

With deadpanned abandon, I’ll be hauling heirlooms to the dump. 
         Of all the reiterative obliterations, it’s the closest doom 
to dancing on your own grave.         The act boasts similar daze properties 
    to a bacchanal hat toss of one’s limbs when littering, looming, 
         illuminating their kinetic craze tactics in an unassuming air. 
                           I don’t care. Do you? Equally brazen a method 

to stave off death is to praise the cave-life of prehensiles—go on,
         grab on to the tusk of a tree with the thrust of your tail 
and trust it with your life.         What a tether the tailbone is, its absence 
     begs me to get a grip. It’s a godsend to blend in 
but you know you miss it: the vista up there, tree-topped 
         with an adopted quasi-flighted headheight.

It’s dizzying but now it’s all in the wrist. I hold on to it via this 
         fisted hook. In this instance, it is anything I can get 
my alliterative, tailless hands on, anything I can get attached to,     and hence,
anything that can topple a sense of recompense and a second 
     tense pseudo-simplicity: you you you you you. 
                             You are a haven of yourself that you have yet 

to breach, and yet,        the palimpsest isn’t death: it’s lifelike: a precipice: 
             a lesson in preciousness. It’s a loss like coming across the killjoy 
of a bird carcass on what was supposed to be a careless walk.      It’s a whitewash 
        of what you know to be terrestrial, fossilized, and womb-true—
               and thus as unmatter-of-fact as vapor. So, too, you’ve been nude 
                             at noon when the sun could just assume 

bleach you. In such light, with the eyes shut, there is a technicolor terra rosa 
                glow ensanguined under the eyelids in glib plasticity. 
Every crisis is a vision in alizarin crimson      but this inner-under-incision is 
      the opposite: It’s your own luminescence in light-years.              Time 
                stops.    You look out into the brilliance and know nothing like 
                          if wind is intuited,     there’s no wind-up. 

It just is.          You wake to being nude in a numbing mumble of brightness, 
               all squint-and-window-weary. Words escape you—the plucked
  fruit you hold is a whatis—      you await a pseudo whisper to harken the next 
      pseudonymous nexus, the what next?       What universal bad mother emboldens 
            the embezzler expression of Que sera, sera. It’s quaint 
                       but it’s already been.      Like Eve, I’m bereaved of being 

bodiless, beribbed with Adam’s ribbon bones and I have to atone for my 
         stark-raving mad serpentine alignment and the Lucifer mark I got 
from the get-go.  Just look at my scoliotic spine. I’m in a pinch with my internal 
      perch, unharmonious, my hunchback, exultant like a bible verse 
         or a curse word, a stifled wing bone begging to        break loose 
               and bluish with splay. Tumbledown, but it keeps me 

grounded, a bit necro with metallic arthritis, too S-ish, too overwrought 
         an arc to fit in a brace. All told, it holds me up. It may twist its crooked
rhyme but it’s     mine.       It’s mine. When I was a child, enchurched
             on the swing in the stinging dazzle of midday, I got myself 
                 to the highest point, I closed my eyes and with a feeling of both 
                    heck no!& hark!,I let go. I let go. I let.       Go.

Kristina Martino is a poet and visual artist. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in DIALOGIST, Interim, Best New Poets 2021, and elsewhere. She has  received an MFA from The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and fellowships and residencies from Franconia Sculpture Park, Oak Spring Garden Foundation, and the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation. Some of her drawings can be viewed here: www.kristinamartino.com

Back to the issue