Kirsten Kaschock
Inertia Quartet
New Poems From the USA

Score  this,  he  said  handing  me   the  celluloid.
The  silent  short  had  been  lifted  from   a play.
Four   women   treading   water   at   a  buoy  or
standing  outside  an  organic food store.  It  had
not  been  successful:  too  much   text-some   of
it  in  the  original  German,   the    corkscrewing
smoke off  one  of  their  cigarettes—overstated
in   black-and-white.  I  watch  it  seventeen   or
eighteen  times.  I   learn  their   teeth   by  heart.
Each of   them  makes  several  attempts  to  get
up   and   go.    That  they   are    talking   about
malformed    lovers,     dogs,       genocide     as
metaphor—is      alternately      dishonest     and
engaging.  But  what  matters  is  how they don’t
end  it.  I  try  to  score  the  film with  silk,  then
magnets,    then   steel    cable.   I    wind   brick
around   platinum  for  a   through-line.  I   don’t
get   them   right.    I  ask  my  instructor back in
with  hither-come  eyes and  a blond leg  out the
door. Pleaseplease show me how I’ve botched it. He
watches my version—asks, Where  will  they go
if  they  do  manage to dissolve?    I   get   it,    it
shudders  me.  I  decide  on  an  open   window,
cellophane  drifting   from   an  operating     table
onto   the  floor.  I  am  thinking—this    is     just
another  trope,  and  for  any  girl, girls like them,
girls  unlike  me, it is  quite good  enough.