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Poems

Josephine Bätz (2019)

[they have made this a prison]

the city doesn’t have much room above its head at dawn we find traffic lights frozen to the smaller cloud formations & within a few generations these buildings have lost most of their floors

your parents remember a time when you could stand on the roofs your body stretched to its full capacity the say spines were formed differently back then & our eyes adjusted to quicker movements

now the feeling of stone beneath our feet is at best disputed memory while we balance on an elastic but unyielding ground

we have made the up & downward borders our prison bars & what we locked away is coming back for haunting

 

 

[it keeps us from breathing]

the foxes have wandered two streets up since you came here

they knock on doors in the morning and throw pebbles through windows at night their claws have grown out of control from fighting

we tried to greet them in passing it didn’t work nothing works we had to sharpen our language to accommodate

we say:
they have it coming we say:
their blood is yellow like piss we say:
this house’s walls are the last thing between us

there always has to be something between us this language has grown up to kill on its own

we step aside when it takes up speed
and clean the mess it leaves

 

[made to wander]

it is still dark and the moon pale as if dead or not quite ready for commitment we both know that when the sun goes up you will expect another sky

only you won’t make it the whole way beyond the horizon struggling undecided between abandonment and fear

there is no sky at all that will take you from one place to the other and the way in between is gonna be long and badly lit

there’s been talk of seagulls too the massive kind you never see coming until their breath literally dampens the air

and you walk
just that little bit faster and the people coming out of the clubs the bathrooms the corners at three a.m. are waves in a sluggish river are you think
a rolling sea

and your headphones not a distancing device but a dam lest the salt leak out

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