strange, what fabric the body can be | Jade Lascelles

Image: 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič

strange, what fabric the body can be

the materiality, texture layered atop itself

bristling old wool shorn and barbed from so much wear. knitted with cheap

yarn, the acrylic kind that tightens too much, squeaks after

time and so many washes. a thick polyester clinging to the body

odor of the great aunt who first wore it. a light chiffon scarf

draped, artful but nonchalant. a coat patched too obviously.

stinking of the mothballs from a long-untouched winter closet.

how you are sewn into it


how you drive around a town you have not lived in for fifteen years. the

streets so foreign for the first few days. you, without clear compass or

signpost. home, a place of now-unfamiliar intersections. until on the

third day you feel a strange tug. a too-tight stitch pulling beneath the

muscles in your chest. a breath caught in the button of your throat.

because you suddenly know these storefronts, just with different

names. because you remember the shape and weight of who still

patterns the pavement below. who forever married a part of you to

this neighborhood. whose cord has been knotted to yours all along. you

have driven frightfully close to where something terrible happened. until

now you forgot the event even took place in a house at all. it existing

all this time only in the unnamable space of your hazy recollections.


and the stains it collects, the memory


every time you put on the shirt, your eyes go right to the small spot of

redness. you know the exact meal you were eating. how you were sitting at

a not proper dining space. how the sauce splashed when the pot boiled

over. how her homemade jam was thinner and dripped more. when the

brown corduroy got that conspicuous patch of dried glue along the front

most thigh. the leaking pen. the accident. the accidental. that which

you pick at and sniff at and rub in and soak with hopes of it fading more.


how you wear it, but also, how you are woven of it

you sense the distinct tastes inside your mouth whenever you look at the

photo. it is almost unbelievable now, teaching kindergartners to cook.

trusting such small and wild hands with knives to chop the radishes, a hot

griddle to fry up tortillas. you made butter as a class, taking turns shaking

the mason jar of cream. the excited aggression you all stifled around pet gerbils

and younger siblings having found an escape. a riot of children given task

and purpose for their agitation. you hold a photo of this day, see your own

smile as you chew a bit of buttered bread. see how you once delighted

so in it. how delicious it could be, the violence of so many hands.

Jade Lascelles is a writer, editor, musician, and letterpress printer based in Boulder, Colorado. She is the author of the full-length collection The Invevitable (Gesture Press, 2021). Selections of her work have also appeared in numerous journals and the anthologies Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism and Precipice: Writing at the Edge, as well as being featured in the Ed Bowes film Gold Hill and the visual art exhibit and accompanying book Shame Radiant. Several of her poems were recently translated into Italian for the journal Le Voci della Luna. Beyond her writing endeavors, she is a longtime steward of the Harry Smith Print Shop at Naropa University, a core member of the art group The Wilds, and plays drums in a few different musical projects.

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.