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The Interstitium’s Song

 

It looks fluid — something that ebbs and flows, like the ocean. It is similarly underexplored.

 

When I touched you, I knew that you were more than muscle, tendon, tissue, tendon, bone, tendon, foot, elbow, neck, canal, hair, pond, great lakes, soft waist.

 

Compartments of your lungs released into my ear like a delta.

 

A switchgrass seed thumbed into the black of a flood plain.

 

Far above, I could see the shining highways of your body, rings of agate on the ground.

 

Water connected way to way.

 

And I could see the bright highways of your body: the bright highway’s thorn in mud. The bright highway’s face of rust. The bright highway’s papilla, subterranean clot.

 

Button-string space between skin, muscle, tissue, tendon, tendon, tendon, sea.

 

Tributary clay. Globe encircling globe.

 

an organ in its own right

 

What we cannot breathe without:

Bluebell

cloche. Petaled

scab. Lurex

mycelium. Epithelium

epithalamium. Quilted

bloodline. Under-earth

electric. Deductive

and amenable.

 

The body’s highways are an interstice.

 

not all researchers agree with that characterization

 

Names for open space:

 

meadow, glen, field, lot, prairie, plot, valley, parcel, tract

horizon, aperture, ocean, paddock, cave, well, canyon, coulee, gulch

 

lea, ravine, trench, zone, pit, pitch, grassland, bay

empty, waiting, placeholder, airy, vast, overwhelming, endless

 

opportunity, cavity, unrestricted

 

a fluid-filled, 3-D latticework of collagen and elastin

connective tissue
that can be found
all over the body

 

In each space, different features:

 

Space between legs: in the room, neither furniture nor person.

 

Space between fingers: a chair with nobody sitting.

 

Space between songs: every open moment of the road.

 

Space between neck and chest: the way a bird finds a space on a wire or branch.

 

Space between teeth: every tick of the ocean without a fish.

 

Bent space between knee and thigh: a swift flying for ten continuous months.

 

Space between us: chorus of first names.

 

Space between bridge of nose and eye: impossible sweep of tall grass.

 

Space between toes: dented subway cars.

 

Space around us: organized antonyms.

 

a series of spaces,
a highway of moving fluid,
and a previously unknown feature of human anatomy

 

I could sense the bright highways of your body the day we visited the winter stairs of rock which showed the way ice lays so unmarred on the lannon stone and stippled on the gravel on the hill I thought this woman brought me here all day like when I see your breath rush out and fill the plane a meadow lush with frost which looks like all the stars at once I remember in your car parked in a valley afternoon of factories and trains near where I’d take my bicycle to the trail called Three Bridges by anyone who takes the time to count

 

Bridges, which build fragments into roads.

 

Bridges, hats of silt, umbrellas of rock.

 

Three bridges, you and I and the space that connects us.






*Italicized sections of this poem are borrowed from a March 31st, 2018 article in the New York Times


Freesia McKee is author of the chapbook How Distant the City (Headmistress Press, 2018). Her words have appeared in cream city review, The Feminist Wire, Painted Bride Quarterly, CALYX, Gertrude, So to Speak, Nimrod International Journal, Bone Bouquet, Flyway, and the Ms. Magazine Blog. Freesia’s poetry is forthcoming in The Hollins Critic, The Antigonish Review, and The Grabbed Anthology. Her book reviews have appeared in South Florida Poetry Journal, Gulf Stream, and The Drunken Odyssey. Freesia is the winner of CutBank Literary Journal’s 2018 Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, chosen by Sarah Vap.