A Remnant

by Laura Kochman

Where she wove it, orange, the border thread is

a reminder. That other side. She the gatekeeper / the remnant weaver
limping around in the stitching.

The real version
Whatever that means
It’s on a museum wall that looks like this
white and flat
the unmarked entryway

My parents hung it above the stairs going down to the den, where
the floors split themselves into upper and lower
just a slight tilt

Where the house shows the seams of itself

At the ragged edge      the orange thread
where the stone is actually broken and missing

Are you wearing yourself into the weaving

She, all fur and fingers
The soft of her remaining stretched across this frame

Hung up with the other family portraits
he hunts with a spear in the Nile marshes / on the outskirts
of New Jersey

Standing next to his wife
his legs angled against the boat floor, the marsh line

a fan of birds

The edge of something should never be a line, I learned
in art class, a long time ago

Each piece of the body becomes a code, I mean, language
has always had the outline of a body, ankles.

Where the stone is actually broken and missing

How to arrive at the city of the dead

Where his daughter sits folded in the triangle of his legs
in the flat plane of image

You must turn sideways to slip through the wall

When they discovered the mummy’s true identity, they sent him back to his country of origin, and
were rewarded with a false door. I’ve also never been dead.

It’s all familiar
the birds
the open-mouthed cat               swarming fish at the base

Though I never was there
in the scene or in the weaving
or the museum I imagine hunched over a river

At night, I ran past the dark stairway, afraid of the dead space

To mark the edge and its unreality, orange

All the flashlights rolling around in front of my fingers

Turns out I’m in the stitching now / me the borderline
shaping leftover spaces
like they put dye in the water to follow its movement
snaking around the invisible
on the other side of the visible


Read Laura Kochman’s “Missives”

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