Herstory Layered

Herstory Layered

Image: Khattack, Owais. “Rock Layers.” Learning Geology, Oct. 2018, geologylearn.blogspot.com/

Herstory Layered

An Ekphrastic Poem

Kate Roger


I saw history layered in the strata of her body, saw long thick scars of bygone eras riddled with the yet-teeming remnants of life. A conundrum: must I dig into her, unravel her, chip away at her surfaces, in order to read the ledger of her flesh?

In the rivers of her wrinkles I imagine fireflies preparing for an evening soiree; I imagine soft baby mice nestled together, sleepy eyes closed, their mother wrapped around them with the sureness only mothers carry.

There was once water running down those river-ghost-echoes, down the carved wisdom of her wrinkles. Her body was born underwater, yes, in darkness, in the song of hollows. Layer upon layer she was sown, particles resting into infinity beside one another.

Oh, a body is a record, yes of course. A body is a story, a story that lures time into the crevices of space— of matter.

How quietly she sits, holding history. Palms ever upward to the sky, feet ever rooted in the earth. Always across, along, among.

Can I call an assemblage of parts a body? Does a body always already imply an assemblage of parts? When do the layers become discrete? When do they call out to one another, praying for touch?

Yes, there she lies, unembraceable, the archive of matter and time growing up together— up? out? toward? around?

In my dreams I become her; in my dreams matter is oh so permeable.

(matter is always permeable)



Ekphrastic approach(es) used: a) giving an account of your encounter, and b) describe and imagine beyond the frame