k r i s t y    b o w e n



footnotes to a history of desire



If Wednesday, then x = suggestion. y will equal the lit interiors of cars, the distance between bodies. In the bath, if the surface tension breaks at exactly 88 degrees, then y = fragment, but only if the hands shake. If windows, then rooms without objects. If objects, then x will be roughly equal to the distance between the wrist and collarbone, but divided by the circumference of a plate. Assume a broken pitcher of milk, a gesture. If your ribs ache, then subtract the body’s weight in water, or better, deduct your mothers age when you were born. In bed, y always equals mouth. On Sundays, x can equal religion, but can also equal canaries. Yesterday, x = envelope. x + y occasionally equals daughter, but only when mothers are present. x will nearly always equal hands then, or compass.



footnotes to a history of desire


1 a woman who believed her voice was kept in a jewelry box locked in her mother’s bedroom.

2 I placed the blue vase on the mantle, then smashed it the morning. Tiny white porcelain doves mocked me from the sideboard. From the tree outside. Dirty, dirty, they said.

3 In the short film “Diary of Eleanor,” a girl folds her body down and down like a letter until she is the size of a pin. Her lover does not recognize her among the contents of his pocket. a spool of twine, a packet of seeds. She is lost indefinitely.

4 Oddness, oddity:
           1. The quality of being odd (ODD a. 2) or uneven; unevenness of number.
           †2. Uniqueness, rarity, singularity. Obs.
           3. Divergence from what is ordinary or usual; strangeness, peculiarity; eccentricity.

5 occurs in the dream in which she is rescued from the trees by an army of swallows.

6 Adropogon gerardii, or big bluestem. A variety of tall grasses prevalent in the upper Midwest., often growings in such tall, dense stands that it prevents other grasses from growing around it by shading them out.

7 In Greek mythology, Philomel was loved by her sister Procne’s husband, Tereus, who raped her, cut out her tongue, and held her captive. She wove a tapestry informing her sister of her fate, who in revenge, killed their son Itys and fed him to his father secretly. Tereus tried to kill both sisters until Zeus changed them into birds.

8 “god in the machine”

9 I can only say the word dandelion and think of their smell on my hands. The chains linked like arms, staining the good towels.

10 sometimes referred to as la porte de follie {sic} a door leading to an enormous room filled with plastic birds. See Darwin’s Orgin of Species, Book I.

11 Extravagant, or excessive., as in pretentious, reckless, ridiculous, silly.

12 See also appendix C.



KRISTY BOWEN is the author of the fever almanac (Ghost Road Press, 2006) and feign (New Michigan Press, 2007) as well as several other limited edition chapbooks. She lives in Chicago, where she edits the online zine wicked alice and runs dancing girl press.