Caroline Klocksiem

Plain scenes or water scenes

Plain glass of water
on our rickety stand
how it absorbs
the impact of
heat in order
to achieve
a different
How it absorbs the impact of heat—
plain glass of water on the rickety night.
Stand—in order to achieve
another version of self.
Like molting
a million water circles
shed outside the glass
then fall.
Shark teeth
continually filling the space
the others create when they leave.
Skin is
departing in
wonderful shapes.
I traded
my mouth for your skin.
Sphere for a triangle.
I could be a Pilot Fish
pitching myself against
your spiny flesh, your back
like a row of teeth against me.
Triangle of light carried across your back.
Another version of skin
The self carried in circles
Trace with mouth and fingers
The space from that bite
My finger no longer


the weight of

the band

that circles it.

Secretly this is how I disappear

When I woke I broke the pink body

of the grapefruit

in two, then spent all day

on the floor. I began

to smell my armpits as I cut

tiny pieces with scissors

sage-green and cream

orbs from vellum

for a second wedding table.

The box fan settles the living

room, brings in hyacinth then

the earthly bouquet of dog

shit left by the road.

I am on all fours, circles

hundreds of circles waiting to be

assembled, waiting to be

contorted in my hands.

My fingers a little nervous

anxious, glued and moving quick

over everything. Useless. Ants.

Current with slashes of light

The cat stalks not
the finch but her shadow’s
flitter across a sun-field
fading on the floor.
Outside, the wind’s wild
lace through pines, oceanic
roars they translate
into. Baby blue surges
the sky around needles
exclaiming the trees—
their negative space a gash.
Shadows sew the day shut, dead
lips of dusk. Living
animals dart across
the most enormous plain: plain
of the green
wing of the god
of precision and my spreading
at the myth of precision…

Consistent stars

If only
only you
were here/if only you were
I have
lived differently
every moment that I miss
consistent punctuation
world/the sound
of your words leaving your mouth
shooting stars
a pail
pale half-
every holding-us thing
together/stitching everything
together/gathering every-
thing gathering
the way a white thread
across a mother’s skirt
skirting those holding and regular
I am missing
something tiny
and regular
I wallow—Rilke—
Silent friend of many
distances, feel/how
your breath enlarges all
of space.

The cricket’s
call reaches
through black
iron gates
I am hoarse for something
immeasurably small like this
and regular/like swallowing
I love you
in/with every
of salt.

Current in Tuscaloosa with double roach infestations

For K & N

* Make your home where
you lay down
* 70 black bugs at least. Seeds
washing over
the bed. Wood panels. Your toes.
A river all night.
* The borrowed clean air
mattress at 4 am and the slight hiss of air
that escapes the weight of your dreams.
It is only water from the river
earlier that day—That which
wakes you in panic, dancing
on your eardrum, and for this
you are thankful.
* That home let go, floating
down towards the past.
Bad dreams over-run with insect legs—
let them go.
* New place. Franklin’s bright red
toys: favorite ball
thrown out in case of eggs.
Wasted, to be
A whole brand new
The borrowed yard
grass is a toy. Bright and
closer to safe.
* Curvature. Shoulders beginning
to rise. When you are collecting
new breaths. A coolness is
coming, clean space. Promise.
* Waste, again. The spines
of brown books dotted with
eggs. The glue that binds
lived off of, stripped
clean even in your presence.
Even in storage, in
invisibleness. Eggs
laid in all this gnarled
* New place: black
bugs once again. The black roaches’
slow-swimming backs, flowing in
from out. Wide like warriors all over
again. Shielded, armed. Black
* Flipping through Cooking
Scandanavian!, heirloom
from someone’s grandmother.
A roach flies into your bangs.
Throw it away in the pile for let go.
All over again we cannot choose
what is taken from us.
I say Fuck That.
* They were never owned anyway though.
The sofa, the mattress, milk glasses…
* New place. On the corporate-clean
sidewalk of The Palisades complex
Kirsten puts her arms back, parallel
to the ground and wiggles and pretends
to be one of them. We have to laugh
a little like flying.
* Description: manufactured
but clean.
We all wish that
could even approach that. But
at least hissing turns over to humming. The street-
light crawling through the plastic blinds
feels safe and bright.
* Franklin watches the parking lot—obedient
bodies of cars, objects doing as they’re told.
An officer on his way home.
* New neighbor that told you the soul
dies with the body. I say nothing
does. That die isn’t true, only
not seen.
* Where it is breadcrumbed is
where you make
your home. Remember
Hansel and Gretel— you
cannot imagine, radiant friends,
just how fantastically scattered.
You cannot imagine
* the practice of training
your eyes to finally rest will work.
Let go not seeing
history everywhere.

Caroline Klocksiem is the author of a poetry chapbook, “Circumstances of the House and Moon,” (Dancing Girl Press), and her poems are published or forthcoming from such journals as The Iowa Review; Hayden’s Ferry Review; CutBank; The Pinch; BlazeVox; H_NGM_N; Super Arrow; North American Review; and others. She is a Swarthout Award and Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship recipient. Originally from South Carolina, she lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with her family, where she teaches at the University of Alabama. More work is online at