Laura Kochman

Bomb / Shell

Two women staring up
into my blank forehead, my hair the darkest exposure.

Between them the dividing line.

The way space there is flat
and crossable, on the cover.

Of ink between them.

Here is the cutoff for framing my face when
there is no space for me
to look out between them.

My eyes elide it.

I saw from a single slide, hid my crossed eye
behind these lashesbangsprotective surfaces I grew
myself for myself.

She studied the shape of words or she lit herself up or she blew herself up or she was teased and tangled limb from limb, I think, running all the stories together.

In my family photos all the women stare the same dark stare
even the babieswill accuse you.

When drawing a face you must not create an outline, but a shadow.

The shape and color of my hair when wet.

There was not enough space
to save one from the other.

Midline rift of street or body.

Of dark hair hanging down.

Even in the reflection of a non-reflective surface, my face, my forehead, the line dotting down the center of my nose to meet the pinch of my lip.

The three of us resembled each other.

I did not want to lend myself to either side of the line.

Dark hairolive skinspheric open eyes.

The dead looking back at the dead, my ghost sisters behind the sliding wall.

We’re not related.

The wall knows everything
about the shape of my back and the small noises
between the bones in my spine.

To draw a face you begin with a line.

It is necessary to see this center eventually dissolve, spine fading under skin.

Hidden in the dark damp.

My ghost sisters confide their bones to the dark, sternum and causeway and darkroom without a door.

Here is the door.

I mean, here is the house of the dead.

Here all the mirrors are covered with veils and you must only see yourself in others.

You must not open the door.

My eyes, one on each side of a nose.

Faces in neat rowsall familiar.

How a line gains dimension
as a wall cut away for the camera
reveals a new space for the viewer
to live in.

Between them the intimacy of knowing what it feels like to have a face and knowing nothing else beyond that.

The flat space of a road blast.

Transportation from a body to a second body is called reincarnation, I think, slipping into a new diary.

My pride of page.

Teased and tangled into the underside
the otherside of here and then, the midline between them.

What is on the other side of these false doors.

I sat in it.

Staring at the shape of me spreading out from the center.


Poem Involving The Animal

When I speak for / my owned animal
sometimes a thin net slips in

as though we were not
in the same salted water / My hand
separate from my body / is the pod

in the water following the net
as it forms the shape of the netted

To place your hand in the mouth
of the coastline

This is the moment when looking away
from the bad dream becomes youYou’re becoming

the dangerous one in the room

To break skin with teeth

Liquids like water and blood will filltheir small containers / take
shape / as though / bodies of water
were not bounded

When I speak

for my own small body that sleeps
on the coast of my body / it was yours


lkochmanLaura Kochman is the author of The Bone and the Body (BatCat Press, 2015) and Future Skirt (dancing girl press, 2013). Originally from New Jersey, she currently lives, writes, and feeds her cat in Philadelphia after receiving her MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Atlas Review, HOUSEGUEST, TYPO, Sink Review, Tarpaulin Sky Magazine, and others. Visit her at