May 18, 2022

Origin Complex Fire & Other Poems

By Maura Pellettieri

Origin Complex Fire


I dreamed as though the past was threaded 
through the future. I returned to find my losses 
where they were. I bumped along the wooden road 
of remembering, taught strangers songs 
I did not know. I led lives that were strangers 
to me, then my songs themselves 
became friends. The past grew known, 
drew nearer to the future. I gripped twisted fibers 
as though I wanted, swinging from frayed drapes. I worked 
in vehicles, listening (I had no office) to 
those who did not know— 

I knew the way but spoke too lowly, bled 
ordinary concept when I wrote. I did not determine 
the strength of my passivity or whether 
it was purposeful. I considered happiness 
if we arrived there again and happiness 
if we did not. If I left, I did it 
with will. If I disappeared without 
words of parting it was because external forces grown 
like tremors out of my silent story 
from when I was an object disappeared 
me, or because I go now 
by way of an adulthood. I did not mourn 
childhood. I did not 
mourn cadences. Because I was returned 
to body, not in need of it. I sprawled on dogs 
and rugs, so people standing over there 
ignored me. I lived and seemed 
not to. I divorced and told 
no one. I remarried to undo 
a blocked seam; stepped out of my body 
at the parting, then introduced 
myself to her, watched me return 
emergence to another method 
of returning, slinking in the shadow 
of the form made my 
former. Without moving shapes, 
I rose. I watered plants 
that had died, most in other rooms. None 
were burdens. I was listening to stories 
that told themselves silently. They were in 
the objects I touched or saw
from distances, they were
in the air. None of the things that happened
had anything to do with me. I was not
apparent, even to her. I pressed my hair
into bricks. All surfaces were flesh to me
then. I walked as though no places of division
that spoke could sway me. What were the details
of the tragedy? If they spelled sense,
I might say. But the rugs
were pink and gold-threaded on wooden floors
of a future-building, and the dogs
black retrievers. The retrievers
came more frequently and the horses
less often. I missed the horses, and the way
I was not able to speak with them,
but the sky turned orange. Some people said 
it was something. I did not
speak of the horses again
except to puddles
I stepped in. One of the dogs allowed me
to take his face in my palms. 
The friends I remembered, strangers, who were quiet
for too long, then questioning—

They wanted to know if still we were
in the place
where we were. I wanted someone to ask
what was happening to me. 
A light chimed out of century. Some hands I saw
in the distance were mine. They wanted 
to know many things, but could not even 
find their names.

“christmas” (a hegemony mythology)

the winter was very cold,
elsewhere. I sat indoors
and pretended to be devastated
for 3 minutes. I experienced

The Outside. we had a great fight.
afterward, I came for an hour until my cells were obliterated
into a different name, a different
being. at least I was 

on the moon. at least you had no escape
from yourself. at least the mirrors had been broken
true. there was a pool of water
at the bottom of the ocean, fresh and distinguished

from the other water. I drank it, 
like the cool pink stream of my new boyfriend’s
cum. by then, it was very late. it was precise and stable
liquid, very good. water, or whatever

of my power had fallen and then fled
from a basement in your large intestine, now uncurled itself and panted
like an effervescent wing of panther’s
lifeblood at my feet. I slathered my body

in The Fog. It was an expensive moisturizer,
caused me to look wildly defined, almost
overbright. People pitied themselves
in my absence. animals glittered

just by standing next to me. I leavened
the hours, rewrote all 47 dreams ever in existence,
divorced the echoes, ate for second breakfast
5 preeminent fates.

Maura Pellettieri is a writer and artist. Her writing can be found in the Kenyon Review, Conjunctions, the Literary Review, On The Seawall, Denver Quarterly, Tupelo Quarterly, Fairy Tale Review, the Adroit Journal, Guernica, Apogee, Tammy Journal, and others. She received her MFA in Writing at Washington University in St. Louis. She has given artist talks at the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and other venues. Her work centers ecofuturist poetics, mutual care among interdiasporic networks, land consent, more-than-human personhood, and the speculative feminine. She uses Hebrew medicine, psychogeography, and deep listening practices to write and teach about the human relationship to Earth. She is a kohenet (traditional Hebrew ceremonialist) in galut who makes her home as a guest on Lisjan Ohlone land.