Bamboo Ladder


it fits that when i’m called to elegy i tend to remember what is still present in absence: my father (1), the want I stitched into the land (2), what I pressed away (3). deciding to remember (4) those pieces is a kind of elegy—calling towards a loss, for catharsis or re-association. (5) plugging my ears and descending into myself is a surveying of sorts (6), and hearing the howling wind of my own blood while cataloguing my history is also an elegy (7), although a preemptive one. like my body, language has everything it’s done embedded in itself: Hélène’s own ladder sits silent at the front of herself (8),  the letter K pushes assertion into the world, while signaling return (9). there is an emphatic ask inside every italic (10), and a cradling of one’s own body in the ampersand (11). in this way, language and the body walk backwards into the future (12), making of itself both elegy and ode, an art of both living and the dead (13).


1. the thing nobody tells us about abandonment

2. the pit of want it plants inside the throat

3. a cavity that grows beyond and on, calling all the time

4. how can the poem enact impossibility?

5. clean space between the living & the non-present

6. anechoic, which points to abscess as the thing

7. & it just lives.

8. the back half of my brain tells me

9. i am a destroyer of things

10. & i want to ask her to give me a break.

11. isn’t it a wild ecstasy that combined, this asking & unfolds, tendrils itself out towards? transforms, also, into the calling lute of grief? says: i want to give the gift of knowing me this way, clutches, & isn’t that also the work of my body? & isn’t that what i’ve been trying to do, this whole time? to ask myself, despite history & memories of language, to not fail? 

12. stay with me / here / stay

13. but it’s like breathing through salt water, like looking at the sun.


Tara Jayakar

is the founder of Raptor Editing & Press. She works in web and content editing and lives in Brooklyn.