Fearless As I Seam
by Abigail Zimmer
dancing girl press, 2014
$7 Buy from dancing girl press
The blood will fill your open spaces.
I can’t get to the woods easily from where I live. I seek quiet in the city parks.
One thing people say about New Yorkers is that they are mean. I’ve found people everywhere to be whatever they are. I think here privacy comes where you make it—often in public.
I came to this book & found privacy. I found intimacy & a new language of woods.
In Pittsburgh Abi took off her shoes & ran in the rain. This was private, intimate. She was alone while we watched.
At a rest stop between Muncie & Akron Abi ran up a grassy hill & disappeared. Josh charged his phone. I took two Advil. “Your friend sure has a lot of energy,” a man said to me. I didn’t respond, gave a half grin. I live in New York, I am a woman. I have been trained in certain ways.
This book feels like nature existing in my hands. There is loss. Fragmented traveling & discovery. I hold this close. I understand.
In Chicago she made late-night toast. A crusty sourdough with goat cheese, cucumber, & olive oil. I knew I liked here right then.
A chapbook is a short breath of intensity. It fills with meaning, longing. We understand it as complete.
I say: when I look at you I believe in growth. When I look at you I feel accepted.
Fearless As I Seam opens with closing. A closing of the world. An entering in with a different set of rules. A new vocabulary. All sense of reasoning—an offering. We walk in / we are met with a greeting, a warning, a hinted loss.
Follow me as I go:
I dress in the red earth. There is no laughter.
Another warning. What we are to start with—in our beginning—what we are made into: what becomes of our bodies through experience.
Carrying this red on our backs, we spill. [A]s if above there is light to spare.
What is lost/gained in our movements? Outside a drag show in Pittsburgh we share our sorrows, our shaking of hips, our removal of crawfish.
In our watching of our own past experiences we are sent away alone. The direction, the responsibilities required of us. How do we move in a state of after? Is light a joke? As if the only way of knowing/existing comes in darkness. Our lives lived out underneath. The water only lets the light in if you swim closer to the surface.
In a hollow, Earth pushes out quintuplets, sets them up like trees to hear the land.
Now there comes a shift: a statue to hold us from feelings/what we become. Sometimes we have to remain still to heal. The earth gives us life. It births us & the ones we love, but there is loss in everything. Especially the sun.
What we know matters to us but not to many others. Some people we let in. Some people we meet will remain strangers.
I fell in love with Abi on the second day we read together. I told her & Josh in the cab home from the bar. We open ourselves to each other through our poems. I think maybe we create communities because we crave understanding the world will not allow. No one asked me what I meant there (in poems) so I explained myself. In our poems we intertwine. These people have been buried in me. I made room.
-Attempt at rescue
Here the hush of survivors. Paled heaps of junk barely moving. The sky remains ash for years. I believe in what I can. When a world ends some are left behind. What we are stuck in changes, stays, follows, becomes.
I say: what heavies me most.
A fairy tale.
The storm arrives. Leaves us with our bones. We can never pick everything up. How we mend is by leaving them behind.
The sisters: when our expectations change we can only ready ourselves for what comes next. In the dark repair room, the sister becomes a pattern over cloth.
How we mourn.
How we repair.
The mind won’t let us out. It owns us as much as we own it.
Enter: breakdown. We fall/flail. We find a new rhythm. A way to exist in this new unknown.
Mending: how do we keep safe our memories? Especially the ones we must leave behind in order to survive.
it says: you wild thing of splendor where is your noise
How do we get our noise back?
What does it take to return?
To be here and then to be not. Still it follows. Tries to steal away with the shadows we hold dear. I’ll take my chances.
So we lock ourselves inside our memories. We bake bread, we sing, we keep quiet, we wait, we ready. These other lives of ours. When will they feel separate?
Lungs and landing. In Muncie we were met with a discussion of when to act. Someone said ‘you can hold your own.’ How do we show weakness without opening? What fear is. What it means to be touched without permission. In lieu of together, I invite my shadow. It takes more than we could know.
Here is where I get dramatic:
Sometimes we must drown.
Zimmer tugs the ankles.
This book journeys us through a new landscape. Leads us into a place where our bodies/shadows are not safe. Everything may be stolen. I read this & know my pain is not my own. I come here to recover, to be held. But Zimmer does not want to keep us safe. She wants to show us that sometimes in suffering we find ourselves.
Alexis Pope is the author of SOFT THREAT (Coconut Books, 2014), and three chapbooks. Poems can be found in Guernica, Washington Square, Big Lucks, Octopus, The Atlas Review, and Forklift, Ohio, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.