Garden Soil


And Schuster

Hovers the graveyard, she / still her body / only partially uncovered. Newly bound in /
ghostly form, she / brushes soil endless, dark / fascination with behind. Moving material
dense / feldspar / nitrogen / hornblende / quartz / doesn’t hold the same ease it once did /

She needs a break / she’s not tired / only / even wanting is heavy in this form.

Work stops / she / floats / she / down to the lake / periwinkle with dying light. A lone
kayaker / paddles back to shore. Silhouettes of bikes streak / through / the grey,
headlamps fleeing / like stars / processions of shadows, late walkers / and their children /
going home.

Her body / she smells / could feel pressed against grass. Her body / listen / could music to
French and her paper could / her body / put on thoughts. Phone light texting could perhaps
from lover (her body form could lips that word). Drop hot her body salts of leucine
enkephalin could into into into / the microbes and pockets of air beneath worlds—

b /ut her b/ody / she’s / g/iven u /p.

It is this flicker-thought / her navel etheric feels a pull, drawing drawing / inexorable / back
to dis/carded, back to grave / yard, back / to what she hasn’t been able to / stop leaving /.

Descends slowly / she / into cold dark hole / dons / she / again, her work / sloughs / she /
remaining dirt / from corpse / strokes the skin, cold / she / gently, brushing / brush / ing /

… lightyears / e / ons / days…

until… / here. Here.

here / are the arms that once carried weight, here / are the ovaries / heads hanging dead
flowers, here / are the glands making hormones not / a woman’s, quite, here / is the womb
curled in on itself / is the womb that could not / long carry life, here / the throat choked on
truth, here / is the cervix pulled up away from the ground / is the cervix spun in a space
never made to hold straight, here / is the pelvis tilting two ways, here / is the belly jumped
when touched between navel and hip bone, here /

are the lips spiked with poison, here / is the brain curving pathways like rivulets around
rocks of everything wrong it ever took in, here / are the neurons / what hurtled themselves
/ rocks gone through gray matter / forged thought over pathways of old / land /
forge-fought to unthrill through new folds, here /

are the legs growing hair / none / above the knee, here / are the shins cycled from covered
to smooth, here / are the toes that insisted / claimed / demanded bottom of threshold for
pain, here / are those arms, power arms, power drawn from babies lifted, books lifted,
boxes lifted, bodies lifted here / are the arms that for all their power surprise her when she
sees them flabby like her grandmother’s from pictures in the sixties cutting cake, here /

are the labia, here / is the one on the right / forced itself into ball / swole four times normal
size / while ovary, same side, swole twenty-five, here / the vagina / blood under full moon,
cramped, here / the feet that fell / somehow/ at the end / flat and clean upon the floor, here
/ are the pits with a slight sheen of fur, here / are the fingers feeling the fullness of the
body’s bloating belly, here / is the curve of her back dipped into bone.

Here / is this body, this body is, here.

Down / she / lays, hands / she / holds, uneven nails / she / strokes, palm / she / places,
aglow, against the handed shapes of / cold / dead / flesh, strokes fourth finger with her
own / lingers / holds. Brushes forehead / brushes bridge of nose / brushes blue lips /
brushes bruised throat / brushes / brings / electric lips to cold / dark / home of corpse and /

enters herself into this body, this time, breathing fast, breathing hard, breathing home,
corpse fills, color spills, this saturate longing seeping ever



(Soundtrack: “Asleep at Last” by The Wailin’ Jennys)


And Schuster

is a nonbinary writer living in Seattle, Washington. Historically a poet, And is pursuing an MFA in fiction at Regis University and has hand-produced two chapbooks: Unbidden and Words for the Journey. And currently serves as vice president for the LGBTQ+ Writers Caucus at AWP and is the blog editor and an editorial assistant at Inverted Syntax. Their current work includes focus on interstices of experience and identity, the deconstruction of gender, and what it means to inhabit liminal space.