/valerie witte

8, To Be Rent at the Seams


by chance
a scorch
of hair
a trench
of maps



A map of bones, deliberately altered | Then
skin became a boundary, a way to hold herself together when
fiber was forbidden
| no scorn in branding: an ankle engraved: adornment
by darkening, areolae to lesser extents | abdominal | She knew
it would happen this way, in plural, settling
| to gas
any gum | She differed now also a scorch
of hair minimized
| sometimes stretching several miles in this latitude
a continual state of turnover | She was almost
human, anyway


In marine animals, caribou | tattooed
and pierced | She tried gauffering, women’s caps | a strata
of cells insinuate themselves in one direction, then | overcoming
traits already written, keeping like with like | If she medicated
| mascaras, lashes learn to filter ultraviolet | air
deflected or disregarded curvature
| Primarily for frills, ribbing | knitted
doublets | But a stronger drug could do more
harm (vanished by chance)
| the contaminant of a single
plant foraging sunlight | once
chosen, one to die


To card into drawers, the weight of cloths | A frame
fitted, fallers | for cotton, worsted | corresponding
to each means of genitalia | becoming obsolete
a compromise | Caused by osmosis to concede
pooling | under eyes, around the mouth a mask is lasting
and intensifies with successive pregnancies | Punished
for the capacity to give: birth thoughts she would never | require hanks
on cheeses, jiggers or stars | a cylindrical
spar slung standard foliage
and blooms | Each one a yard as a drum rotating, mulberry |

Valerie Witte is the author of a game of correspondence (Black Radish Books, 2015) and The Grass Is Greener When the Sun Is Yellow (Operating System, 2019), a collaboration with Sarah Rosenthal. Chapbooks include The history of mining (g.e. collective/Poetry Flash, 2013) and It’s been a long time since I’ve dreamt of someone (Dancing Girl Press, 2018). Valerie’s work has appeared in literary journals such as VOLT, Diagram, Dusie, Alice Blue, Shampoo, Interim, and elsewhere. Valerie has attended residencies through The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences, Ragdale Foundation, and La Porte Peinte Center for the Arts in Noyers, France, and is a founding member of the Bay Area Correspondence School.