I. Of the Body’s Prophesy
Thinning, you call it, the thing happening to or in his blood.
Thinning: becoming less copious like: his hair and hunger, desire.
Others call this red viscosity, send you searching for where
it rose: Anglo-French viscous from the Latin viscum:
“birdlime out of mistletoe” to the root *weis: “melt away, flow”
but “also see virus” and never stop looking until you’ve given it
his name. Until the Sanskrit, visah: “poison, sap, unctuous liquid”
and the Old Church Slavonic višnja: “cherry” sweet-blood,
seal his body, seal it onto you and what’s left? The Welsh gwy: “water,”
and gwyar: “blood” in your hands, left thinning: to remember
the last place you touched.
II. Of Diagnosis or Its Name
You break apart, Kenneth-Das-bach, break apart
his given name. Gaelic Caioneach: “handsome, comely,”
Das: German article “the,” then complicate the bach,
“to live as an unmarried man,” you re-name him
husband, forget his origin in “streamlet, creek, brook, runnel”
forget his “cause to run” born from the Old English ærnan:
“weak and transitive” to the Scottish burn: “fresh water,”
but all you hear is run run run, his heart insoluble:
borne inside, “a run” tears the kitted fabric of his flesh,
the blood, too fast, too worn too visible
where bruises spread like lakes across his skin.
III. Of Touch, Its Axes
So much to say of all this blood, confined.
High German bhlo-to: “swell, gush, spurt” and Gothic
bloma: “flower.” What’s left? You watch it
bloom across his face, call out: “hot spark,”
the slang equivalent of him wait out the silence,
then call again: “man of fire” and he becomes
the flame, becomes his ancestors,
their Hittite eshar: “sense of blood outside the body,”
the thing they would claim “a wound,”
so grave, it doesn’t have a body, born in the marrow, inside
his bones, born where you cannot reach
to heal him.
IV. Of Cure
How to separate? Find this inside the space it occupies.
Cure, you pray: Old Spanish guarir: “to make
whole, to conjure, or to tend,” but when still
lost in this defining, unable to lift up your hands
you use Old English remedies, wearian:
“prevent, ward off, defend” and mimic
the “take care of” motions from French curer,
which cannot help his living body,
like candle lighting after someone’s dead.
There is a “care” on which they overlap:
the difference between memory and cure.
Croation mariti: “to care for”
(your cheek above his mouth
trying to count how fast how warm
he’s breathing) until “also see mourn”
is all you understand (the flight,
the lashes hard in beat against his lids)
then morna: “pine away” and you
are following the veins across his forearm,
tracing unfamiliar passage,
“be careful” and “long after:” murnan.
You find the origin in *mer
“to wither” the root overgrown
with man and love and loved,
overwatered with what flowed
too quickly, the root you keep repeating:
mer mer mer until it grows again:
repeat to make it merge with memory,
repeat until it fades to miracle
until you remember him, cured:
his hands, once more
working the grain
of olive wood
across a blade.
JULIA KOLCHINSKY DASBACH emigrated as a Jewish refugee from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine in 1993. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is in the University of Pennsylvania’s Comparative Literature Ph.D. program. Julia’s poetry has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Guernica, and Nashville Review, among others journals. Her manuscript, The Bear Who Ate the Stars, won of Split Lip Magazine‘s Uppercut Chapbook Award, and is forthcoming from Split Lip Press this fall. She was most recently runner-up in Southern Humanities Review’s 2014 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize. Julia is also the Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine. Find out more by visiting her website.