Kimberly Grey

Intellectualization (An Excerpt from A Mother is an Intellectual Thing)

:           it is through an aspect of mind we interpret
the proper scaffolding

:           in which to fasten memory

:           I was little once and the smallness of me did
not warrant attention, as a child among
several, all needing, I was

:           (a conflict)

:           lost on a beach one day, near mother, in sight, the sun
hot and my five-year body forgotten for hours

:           wherein pain is a collaboration between
the body and mind

:           (a glittering continuousness)

:           and years later, while mindless with desire, a lover’s body
affixed to my backside like a button, there was
the illusion of fire

:           I find translation electric

:           Freud might say “purposeful”

:           wherein I said to the lover as he showered me,
do you think she heard me in the night
when I cried?

          (a transition to reason)

:           go to sleep, I was told

:           how I remember my back’s whole world
blistering, red suns bleeding
through my nightshirt

:           (a defense)

:           always a secret scaffolding
to hold language

:           to which the lover said, you know language
might not always accept such action

:           (I can’t remember
how to properly remember)

:           that lover has gone now, moved
to Mazatlán

:           what do you do with a backbone
you can’t love?

:           fashioning a response is always
an achievement of

:           the mind
(which mothers me)

:           reports the imagination:

:           you let the sun burn it.


Kimberly Grey is the author of Systems for the Future of Feeling (forthcoming from Persea Books in 2020), and The Opposite of Light, winner of the 2015 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. She is the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship and teaching lectureship from Stanford University and a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship to Umbria, Italy. She is currently completing a PhD in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati and teaches for The Stanford Online High School and Summer Institutes Program.