become flesh, an ensemble of characters
darjeeling could be a color
journey around the world, illustrated in one’s own hand

Author: Carolin Callies
Translator: Bradley Schmidt

become flesh, an ensemble of characters

1st pers. sing.
I wanted to leave your shame be
& more than just the useless bones;
leave you the feebly scraped word

& more than the lint in
the swollen parts of the eyelid
scaffolding standing before you.

2nd pers. sing.
you’ve become a flat construction:
profound lacerations & not even a flesh wound.

3rd pers. sing.
a suspicious beery, bowlegged tongue,
just lying fallowed. just old assed:
this discharge, sucked into a lap, can rarely be sugar coated.
only thing that helps is to sequester his member.

1st pers. plur.
we gathered up the last of your skin particles
to pack them in the boxes with the crumbs
& then ourselves to join them
loud & driven by sorrow.

2nd pers. plur.
you’re united by the lack of a foot
& the opportunity to brag about it
& more than just hint at your contraption for it.

3rd pers. plur.
this loans needed for a blemished body
were numerous & the spare parts accidentally shredded:
tracks, containers & cables, for example.

all the things that would at least be washable.
laid out to dry along the river & and the tubes.


you have clots, necks, moles,
pegs, corks, red veined;
what were the folds, marble shells
collar: the last thing leans out of your hands.

what were the epidermis corruptions, fingertips,
day albums, giddy with lines
& there on the mouthpiece
nothing more than your hand-sewn lips.

darjeeling could be a color

washed faded & I lay you out, tea-skins.
your limbs are carried:
you carry them dry on modest frames,
on iron & salt.

frozen to form & I salt you, jittery,
wash myself with your towel:
it’s the feet that I wash,
your ankle deep feet.

journey around the world, illustrated in one’s own hand

the circumnavigation of the smallest of things:
hoisted up & continents on your fingers.
listen to that eloquent stuff: who still strikes sails these days

& how many trunks can you construct?
at your feet a mill & map material
& a mouth made of postage stamps.

From Carolin Callies, fünf sinne & nur ein besteckkasten, © Schöffling & Co. Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH, Frankfurt am Main 2015