Guest writer Marissa’s poem, “Træmond (“Woodman”),” as seen in The Elixir
I lie face down, four thousand, four hundred,
and forty six miles, seven thousand, one hundred and fifty five kilometers
from not your home,
my lower half inside your dormitory room,
my top half in the hallway,
displayed upon your community living floor,
having tripped over the raised, square block of wood present in every doorway
in your country,
perhaps in case of fire?
I would get up, you see, but my amateur American liver
has lost the mathematical game of Træmand
it played with your flat mates,
mates who attempted to mix
vodka and soda water,
only it didn’t mix,
the vodka insistent on pooling in the bottom of the glass
after glass, try after try,
I think I’ll lie here,
listen to you speak the tongue
you can’t help but return to
Here, face pressed to wood, at least no one is obliged
to speak English,
cater to the imperialist,
repeat themselves to another “do what?”
I’ve drenched your bathroom, all ten square feet,
because the removable sprayer resembling the one in my kitchen sink
danced and bounced from wall to wall
when I finally figured which direction
the knob should be turned,
the smell of electric smoke still
rising to the ceiling, wafting into the not-present vent,
a result of my trying ti git the
adaptable charger into holes
too small. Even if it fit,
something must have been too long,
like your torso when you hovered, our lower halves compatible, but our tops mismatched, my face pressed
somewhere between abdomen and chest.
IT seems even the missionary isn’t in Kansas anymore.
I’ve never considered myself high-maintenance,
prided myself on the opposite actually,
but after falling from your twin-sized bed last night,
I switched places with you, faced the wall,
but once there, I needed to turn, stretch.
I couldn’t sleep
while I breathed on your face and you on mine,
our inhales and exhales a discordant song,
so I raised to turn, drawing the most delicate square, up and over and down,
so as not to wake you,
but somewhere between mattress and square,
I banged the back of my skull on your ledge (shelf?) protruding from said wall,
and what this collision knocked into me exactly I’m not sure.
Perhaps I’m not as pliable as I thought.
There was no inertia, no bounce, just solid meeting solid,
impact, a dent in neither the wood nor my cranium.
You kept breathing on key, only one note off pitch
at the interruption of my wince.
I could have stayed where I was
against the wall, let you breath,
and I almost did.
I maneuvered my flexible limbs quietly, almost to comfort,
bent one leg vertically to the side,
turned my face down so my nose rested on your shoulder,
to hear only my ins, my outs,
my nostrils like an infant’s, deep enough
to smell while pressed to breast,
only I couldn’t breathe.
Desperate for air, to close my eyes, I whispered my apologies,
and you kindly moved up, over, and down once more,
and I floated into unconsciousness for a brief moment,
and fell again.
Each time I fell, I didn’t know I was falling, only that I’d fallen.
I felt the smack between head and hard place
and pulled myself back beside you,
but now, I think I’ll stay here,
close my eyes, enter a dream located somewhere
between head and hard.