A Rivenness

A rivenness
A rivenness
A rivenness
That a word or phrase repeated may operate as a useful stalling of an instinct to generate sentences
In-stinct: to prick towards, a pricking-towards
That this stalling may allow an opening for
That desire may slip into its figure, Daphne into these birches, this skein of yellow light.
A rivenness that opens the body to beauty.
That a verb may slip loose from any self into the vague penumbra of gerund or infinitive within which we may become a gesture.
That any loss might be so converted; that any loss might be an ecstasy.
That, insofar as I am present at the ecstatic event, I might slip the bonds of its law.
When I speak for instance of memory I assume that it is for you as it is for me an urgent question.
That your past is a problem, and also that no knowledge of the particular events “comprising” “your past” will bring me nearer to you.
Than the impersonal nearness of the breathing in which these words
a rivenness (say this twice)
which opens the body to beauty
From the milkweed pod’s opening to its emptying a wholly dependent duration:
a being-emptied accompanied by minutest movements of air –
Inexorability of emptying, contingency of each seed’s release –
A neighboring
A winged filament


Kristen Case is the author of the critical study American Pragmatism and Poetic Practice: Crosscurrents from Emerson to Susan Howe (Camden House, 2011). Her poems have appeared in Chelsea, The Brooklyn Review, Pleiades, Saint Ann’s Review, The Iowa Review, Wave Composition, and Eleven Eleven. Her chapbook, Temple, was published in 2014 by MIEL books. Her first book of poems, Little Arias will be published in September by New Issues Press. She teaches American Literature at the University of Maine at Farmington.