k a r i n    g o t t s h a l l

 

Letter from Interlochen (II)

Letter from Interlochen (III)




































Letter from Interlochen (II)

 

It’s another fine day, though I was shivering and still half-dreaming all morning. Now my students are writing their poems—that metamorphosis of abstraction to image through which hope becomes a water tower and wealth a mewed falcon. Say death and I think of a bottle comically labeled “poison,” say love and I think of dry tinder. Woodsmoke smell still fills the camp, remnant of last night’s séances and marshmallows. Someone’s tuning a viola in the woods, and a logging truck rumbles up M131. Say oblivion and I think of a girl turning en pointe, I think of coming up, last night, for breath—storm heaves washing the sky clean, pulling me from sleep too dark to be discerned from actual darkness. Say darkness, darkness: the viola’s voice and the ghosts no one meant to awaken scratching at cabin doors, haunting the laundry room, looking with weary eyes for a quarter that rolled a wobbly line and fell into the drainage grate sometime during the forgotten summer of 1979.

 

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Letter from Interlochen (III)

 

Eating lunch at the picnic table behind the Writing House I find the carved inscriptions of past classes: I was here ’05, drama boys rule, and will you take my virginity? Oh will you, whoever you are? As though virginity were a burden weighty enough to stagger under. Earlier, in the sand, I found a scrap of paper telling the story of Orpheus and Eurydice: “they were nearly to safety when he forgot and looked back.” I remember feeling like that. As though, once lifted, some possibility could be new-realized, unencumbered by perpetual hunger. And yet these twenty years I’ve stumbled hunger to hunger, long enough to know that satisfaction is nothing more than a new and tender opening to loss. That virginity cannot be taken but returns ever heavier in the body’s wants, its faithless wanderings and transient demarcations.

 

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KARIN GOTTSHALL is the author of the book Crocus (Fordham University Press, 2007) and the chapbook Flood Letters (Argos Books, 2011). Her recent fiction and poems have appeared in FIELD, Memorious, Drunken Boat, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. Gottshall lives in Middlebury, Vermont and currently teaches poetry writing at Middlebury College.


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