tender such reliquary

Aby Kaupang

Threat is a vacant place. A cove to sleep in. A solidarity of no-motion. I want to sleep

there. All my mighty babies are sleeping. Here. Heavy. Violence always on the shore and away. There is a deep mean dam away.

In the float of partials, rivers feed in retro. Bodies float within themselves. A fly rod hooks a fissure. Your body’s best this way and thick— treading densities, we best maneuver when unzipped.

Imagine a line of rod. Sneaks out. Imagine a god fisherman. Sought out. You.


This is the way you changed the river: you put your body in it.

This is the way I learn to drown {alt., behave}: I weave my body out.

Trout in the deep can grow quite heavy. Pressure always spooning a concrete sill. Somewhere on between I slip. {Such reliquary of foreheads}. Sand on my towel, trowel where it should be. It’s why the trout are in the trees. Why the river weans itself.

This is what I do in nothing: I stare at the mica that watch at you. By the splay of flint on the bed, you don’t even sense it.

So autumn. Not always an action. I am humming your desire to autumn.    In the building of a fire you mouth rest. I am never very hungry anymore.


I float your baby inside me. I have held it.

For winters, it never comes out.    So much pushing at the river, every cast a nearly tight wire into several nearly selves. I can nearly swim here. I know nearly nothing.

Some six-foot fish suspends it in the elms and we are breathing so breathingly.

We slither. The trout too slither. They are slapping down from leaves. They are slipping through the gunk.

Congealing low the banks are fumed. Currents thick today.    My little baby’s bigger—than me—snake’s bigger belly than me. Zippers are jammed with gunk and the when-ness of rapid solemnity.

    This is the way you changed the river: I cast my body in it.

    This is the way I stay the shore, you proffer it to loaners.


Is there any tender here?

We are all desirous. We swim away.

We carry a canyon in us.

    Elms drown. We drowned. Such bondage in a fissure.


Below the silt the waters’ zipper bars back a—

braces all my—

If River runs

its river fingers

cross fontanels and fissures

then what I want is sleep—

Aby Kaupang’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2008, Word For/Word, La Petite Zine, Dusie, Verse, Denver Quarterly, The Laurel Review, Parthenon West, Parcel, Aufgabe, 14 Hills, Interim, Caketrain, Shampoo & others. Having completed her MFA in poetry, she now studies occupational therapy and lives in Colorado with the poet Matthew Cooperman.