from Without a Cosmonaut Suit

Karin Fellner

Spiritus, Lines of Volatilization

In the backyard the poet hears
the spirit of the old chestnut
piping over the ledge
morning jets, hotel showers
the neighbor gymnastically a
papercutting in chamotte.

That a toad still sits deep
in the sternum of her like stone
or pride, she says: Heart,
be an accordion and extend
yourself to actual kindness,
between the panels

to ether, that most volatile, so
that we may peer into the open

Small Town

Asymmetrical from the morning
the poet staggers through
alleys sporadically shot through
by the duty bound

reads for tragedy’s cuisine
and scents after an opening
to park the to-go rolls
in the roaring mouths of hot air hotels

stop-and-go metal herds whirring
where where she asks, if
the hunger for meadows is packaged
in tiling and décor stores

she matches the step
of the target holder, recites:
Christos is a fashion model
and Small Town calls itself City

the cloudspeaker whispers: This
way to your performance pizza!
And only a hatchling jogged along
sees through her smile.


to the glow of cell digits,
to the limited thinking
of the streets, she clings,
growing numb from longing,
from satiety-becoming-want

all around one-way streets,
fevers, distances: that cannot be
removed, that’s how,
you say, women have always been

rooms full of bounding
discord, in the uterus
visions drag by
of a kindly murderess

the poet steps inside her head
as if being staked to the circle again.

Under Drab Skies

she wintered as the felled
the twelve nights
in dampened hide
outside the pull of life

everything came out too short
the eye’s panoramic sweep
thighs and boards in the hall
compressed to perspective

slowly the animal skin expands
and the poet recalls
the word of the streaming, be streamed

if through falls of light would she
be torn away or carried
by this kayak of flesh?


Aimless the poet permeates night
acrobatic expanses

she breathes in her bonebox like a soufflé
in the Mare Tenebrosum

becomes a variable for
cephalopods and their red, swinging sails:

effervescent tablet, rolled
and ruffled in strawberry storms.

Mornings the poet bore
holes in beds, covers,

flood gates for
small euphoric suns.

In clenched claws

birds bring the sea
to the city and set it free.

On vertical waters the poet
goes through rapids
spreads her empty hand
sounding, -ding bell

beside her, paper
cradled by the grasses
long deceased
girls, old women in the
physical sense,
there is no loss

only a flake
to ladle out the incline          a featherweight
is what she makes of it.

Perhaps that all on its own
it falls and flutters to the top?

Without Weight

The wind rose from the folds
of night in the galls of space
and sought graduality,
bowed and spread itself
through the scalp of the poet.

She hung as in chalaza,
leapt over and into its flames,
bursting in fountains of all kinds,
a scattering in red, and saw:
you cannot extinguish water.

Taking fear and shadowdesire
as merely the waves
of an ocean,
showing them grace,

the wind swept her back
to the bright, distant memory

of how it could be
to remain in the emptiness
          without a cosmonaut suit

translated from the German by Zane Johnson