The Body as Chorus, the Chorus as One

Brett Shaw

Director sticks two fingers in my mouth.Says, the teeth should be a cherry’s widthapart. The mouth’s perilous O from whichthe body grows, secondary & vestigial.The body like water around a thrashingfin. A mouth growing more exposed without air.told not to fish for notes, I’m red. Redacted.A filament fused. Director says,the hips should draw down. The spine stairways,a column of clouds. My head, lifted ona string. Learning how the body acceptsplacement: pulled, plucked. Choral lines rigidas hallway busts. Stuffed—our skin arrangedfor display—a special kind of silencefor the rictus that offers onlywhat another’s hand portrays. I learnedto exhale without fogging the glassplaced in front of my face—crystallinein control. My voice a kettle of hawks,circling what twitched below. This game I playedwith eyes closed felt like hunting, the wayhunting feels like wanting to be caught.A cycle that frays closer & closer,violence at its end. Each little adjustmentmade. Like a beak combed through feathers, likea beak combed through bone. Detail makes effortunseen—a perfect seam. Empty remainsa wing shrouds over—brutal cavern…& what is my mouth once its smile only spreadson request? Feathers pressed into backgroundmeasure. A song emerges from this frieze.Is it sweet,                                is it piercing in its cry?

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Print This Poem

Share on print

Brett Shaw was born in Los Angeles. Recent work can be found in BOAAT Journal, Reservoir, and forthcoming in Fairy Tale Review Online. He holds an MFA from the University of Alabama.

Spring 2019

Charlottesville, Virginia

 Sean Shearer

Managing Editor
Catherine Bresner

Poetry Editor
sam sax

Associate Poetry Editors
Diannely Antigua, Kendra Langdon Juskus

BOAAT is an online journal operating out of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.