<i><b>Wicked Alice Poetry Journal
wicked alice| winter 2009

Amanda Yskamp


Body Chronicle


In the milk

little calcium cups

line up on shelves

to form the bones,

in the spinach,

green determination.


One eats:

To become:


tiger gullibility

on the pancakes,

the blooming thought

in broccoli flowers,

an egg, soft-boiled,

useful as protein.


*                               *                              *


Teethbuds, the zipper

of the spine, lids

smooth and fitted

to the cheek as Brancusi,

minute sprigs of reach and ask,

my baby is inside,

the size of a large plum

babushka nesting doll, inner

and inner, of quick

and juice.  



*                               *                              *


Where the two lobes of the head

came round, drawing a groove

between lips and nose, where a trail

of moles ran down my ribs like snaps,

where chicken pox picked to leave

a tiny extra pink nipple,

I am also a place. A place

that changes. I am what happened

in a place (that changes too):

a blade line bisecting

my fingerprint like a slash

through my police record,

the abrasion on my knee that didn’t heal right

in the tropical swelter, stitches

under my chin where I got dropped

and in the plump of my lips – gravity –

my own choice of a black star

needled under my skin

and a sincere smile dimmed by nicotine.



*                               *                              *


And who touched her

who touched?

Who led her into the coatroom

and revealed his pinkest member?

Who showed her how to play

Mick and Bianca as two girls?

Who kissed her nipples

in the VW van? Who slid

a hand past her gasp?

Who looked and loved her

ass-end, down-hanging, chap-lipped,

as body and beating breath,

as envelope and stalk?

Who showed her the world is peopled

with other bodies?

And who was she, fondled,

who slapped, who spread

out on the ground as the softer

layer of earth, who was she discovered

by touch and becoming,

who the me who, who the she who?



*                               *                              *



The sum of the girlbody, selfbody:

the quiddity and the corpus

hanging off two ends of a broken branch

with the rough break (bright


wood, inside out, grained

like sinew)

as a fulcrum --

can you see it?  The girl as parts,



a balance cantilevered

on the beginning of a gap,

held by what holds,

what would be judged.


On one end what she is,

wishboned by what she does or did,

always a decision forming, (this from


this or to this, not one whole) always,

even in increase, a part of herself moving out.



*                               *                              *


But why should death be the end?

(because it is not

to what is) Does beauty elope

in the arms of youth?

(the room will never again

be cleft in two

by my entrance)

Flesh loosens

its hold on the bone

that kept it to the line

of a vital mathematics.

Invisibility frees

its grey and fade.

Exhaustion prepares for sleep.

DNA’s immortal code

is neither, and one raised

to likeness moves to the other coast.


*                               *                              *


Never mind, my baby,

body has its own call.

Fragile, mortal, its thirst.

Death is the body’s

birthright. Here, drink

from my breast

which fills and droops

to your mouth.

Gladly will I give myself

to your newer claim to be.

Poet and fiction writer Amanda Yskamp has published work in such magazines as Threepenny Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Georgia Review, and Caketrain. This has been a good year so far; Amanda received the Oboh Prize and was nominated for a Pushcart. She lives with poet Douglas Larsen and their two children on the 10-year flood plain of the Russian River , where she teaches correspondence courses and writes articles for the local free paper.