Laura Kochman




when Cheerleader examines the air conditioning panel

sometimes she scrubs it gently with the sleeve of her sweater the red

threads catching on splintered metal she strings its blood across

the panel like an offering to the past hello open up

she bends each metal slab until they all point toward her she can see

through the square within the square a cubed perspective she wonders

if she could do the same to herself bend at each seam until

her body folded just so the world would be a neater place

she would be a neater personality in function and form

a logical order of parts in harmony perhaps bloodless




as the candle burns down the wick splits into its component parts its thread heads
three burnt ends waving at the top splitting into a black clover a plant needs water
and light so Cheerleader burns it down further into the wax water lighting itself
the clover continues to grow


some mornings she sits with the candle and tells it stories about fabric that knows
how to behave she holds her face to the flame and blows it around like the wind
sometimes she holds it up to her chin and imagines her reflection the light under
her face illuminating the nooks and crannies of mold


she lights the candles at the ritual bath their scentless white flesh disgusts her

sitting in the soft water she wonders if her wet hair would light above the surface

if she could illuminate the walls no inflammable she remains unlit and

unflappable the ladies of the past sit in the corner and shake their wet heads

leaning their white plastic chairs at unnatural angles


in the water she divides herself into her component parts a wet clover waving in
the current from the bath jets at the bottom of the bath there is a constant fold in
the water just above the drain a spinning nothing a fold in bodiless fabric




Cheerleader snaps a thread in two and enjoys the clean white break

of space so she does it again and it breaks in the same spot an old

injury the body remembers and becomes again broken in

the right kind of weather the ladies of the past drip white water

from their white hair where the puddle becomes the pool

and the ritual bath gleams white and waxen Cheerleader snaps

a wick in two to light herself at either end when everything

is the wrong color she can still enjoy a well-organized space

backwards she knits the threads together and the ladies rub soap

into their wet hair the bathwater green in this dark light

from the dark tile the sides of the room around her burnt black

and reflective the body remembers and becomes again

nothing if not whole Cheerleader sinks into the wax nothing

if not molding Cheerleader wants her skin back if only

for the purpose of peeling the soft surface away again

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