[These poems were salvaged alongside a note from the hospital that read: Dear Mr. Payne, These poems were found in your sister’s room. It is our contractual duty to pass on any new information regarding clients to next of kin. We have computer class on a Thursday and it seems Miss Payne has been using her time to write what appear to be poems. The highly disturbing nature of what she has written suggests new directions in her diagnosis; Dr. Hayman conjectures a possible relation between your sister’s imagery and a psychological torment associated with dissociative fugue states. Rest assured she is being kept in the safest conditions. We have made photocopies of her notes for our records but have attached here the original.]


They showed us an interactive tutorial
there were organs internal pulsed
to bulb-like structure of sting I Fear
the metasoma containing each vision
a string of tiny onyx eyes
along sternum the evil coxae glitters
positioned to sting what lateral
sight what ventral sternites
you see segments in the walls you see
they do not wash the walls
all matter gets mixed up here
they shot fire in my brain
to prosoma appendage, needle in flesh
they did a pirouette of memory
to mix up the past
upon trucks I used to have pincers
painted nails or what is it pectines
the terrible genital pore
abdominal hurt from the pills
I don’t sleep except temporary
blackout slumber they make us nap
when I trace membranous histories
along cellulite whorls
the book lungs posterior openings old
you cannot vascularise it
vaping in doorways the nurses are always
watching me bathe
with razors and lather
like styrofoam snow my skin
in flakes my skin in scabs
it grows over a hide it grows purple
you see without sun
the bristle-like hairs they call lanugo
I know are setal combs for locomotion
I dream of a desert
where the dead lay in rows
and scrape my dactyls for median effect
at the dry hard earth
I long for a burrow
where anatomical thought
projects on the walls without matter
the walls being smooth& sanded
to glass
I imagine he is out there
darkened he is running
the long intestines of time
into dusk into flux
the leaf membranes shiver
in my fingers I am shellac
to touch
they made me electric
with hundreds of bolts
that taught me to sting
I can gasp
or shout
they will not let me out
for once or for ever or days
my movable fingers
my movable face
a paralysis deep in the skull of me
granular, six-segmented
femur, patella and chela
shuffling along
a metallic clack, a crustiness
cuffed to shell
the empathy of Kafka’s insect
I am not monstrous
as they suppose
you can find me where the sound
dissolves into silence
& the dead lay down
in their desert
& I crawl
to the ether, the edge
where I know the world
licks the other
between particle base
& memory of glitter
or shudder, the dust
of it all
so thin in debris
a collected
archive of ersatz data
my brain scans
my sharp contusions
my maybe imaginings
soon as email
ever& never the endless