Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

Girl as Vandercook 4 Proof Press; This house has many hearts; Now clear your minds—it knows what scares you

Girl as Vandercook 4 Proof Press; This house has many hearts; Now clear your minds—it knows what scares you
letterpress
Girl as Vandercook 4 Proof Press

diagram of

                            a face

           rollers   curve

                               like cheekbone    like

                            jawline like   eyebrow

she traces contours with a palette knife
and blends and blends and blends

              metal

                            as a   kind

                            of bone

bone as

                            a means

                                  to bend

she presses dampened1 paper soft
against her rigid edges

what’s left    of    her

              kissed-mouth2
                                  smudge

                            her ink-lipped
                                                 smack

oils blot away her clotted red-pinks
like cold cream and water

 

1. “An advantage of art paper is its increased ability to absorb impression and ink when dampened with water.” (from Letterpress Printing: A manual for modern fine press printers, Paul Maravelas)

2. “Many commercial printers who formerly worked in letterpress will say, however, that ‘the type should kiss the paper.’ They were trained to print with the subtlest of impression in order to preserve the type.” (from Letterpress Printing: A manual for modern fine press printers, Paul Maravelas)

 

This house has many hearts.

This house has many hearts.

Poltergeist (1982)

This rope double-knotted around your waist:

         tie one end to what you love,
the other to what scares you.

                  This possession is a splinter
         under each of your fingernails,
                             a nail between each rib-rafter,

your bloodbeat louder
         at each entrance wound:

         you possessed by a house possessed
                  by the dead possessed
                             by your daughter.

         All of this hereaftering
in your here and your now:

         your own heart hammering
                  in the walls.

 

Now clear your minds—it knows what scares you.

 

Now clear your minds—it knows what scares you.

—Poltergeist (1982)

         In your dreams of
a disembodied daughter,

                  she is blue teleglow,
         a bioluminescent voice flung

& flown like fireflies.
         She is in the night-arms

                  of the dead tree outside
         your window. You feel her

move through you like moonlight:
         so softly, with small cold hands.

                  And what now? While she’s
         spiderwebbed between here

and gone, the orb-weaver is listening
         for any disturbance of her silk threads,

                  any wind-blown cry for mother
         caught & clung there.