divine magnet





Julie Choffel



The baby slips out in the water.

All is water.

What else moves?

I slip in the water. I slip.

I remember a small thing.

The girl who keeps talking

says to me, here, no, there, no,

here, now now now now now.

My thoughts gather like remnants

of the tribe, mid-flood, in the precipitous cave.

Now the baby is saying something

to the other baby in the

language that means only me only me only.

It’s piecemeal. It’s like no one else

can touch it because it barely exists.

What shape is this? Does it match the star hole?

No? What about the circle?

What kind of baby knows the difference?

All I need is the space between our points.

You be there while I am here.

They all chime, it’s not enough

you know you want to hold us while we

try to get away.

When the water rises

we are nothing but hands, hands.


At / Fuck

I always thought I was a man

                until I got here

now I’m                                        ridiculous

                        being a woman doesn’t even begin

                to describe how              not myself I am


                                        defenses                up

children, a wailing wall

                between me & everything

                                                        ugh sad

morning, moaning

bear it                                there will be no end

                to the crying

                                                                        while I think of dumb words


I am not so cooperative

                why not

                                        say something nice                like Hey Mary

                        what on earth

                                did we take you for

                a place to make someone else

                                                                don’t even say

your son’s name anymore

                                except to make men cry                sorry,


                                        it’s just a body                                ferry

                                for sound



days on end

                 doesn’t mean anything—

I am being meticulous

in aloofness, that’s all

each era starts

with wind

the tree hoists its own limbs up

in the air the thing is pleasant enough

to look at the ideas

come close

if we could lift like guests into

other people’s atmospheres

& live alone like old artists’

forgotten girlfriends, we could pretend

                autobio: the purple rose gets plummy now

                ever just early or late

try to fill with

almost something meaningful

cat watching the cardinal

gratification sandwiched in

partiality and youth

                as if I even knew about it

                                plural autobio: we have this

                                colorless fate

like disease comes & goes around

our knowledge of it,

as in with or without you

the specificity I use to tell this story

doesn’t matter

the story’s still alone inside,

little egg with stuff & vocab

already full

“hand” in “hand” making off with me.

                the stranger touched my face

                                and took me aback.

at once, everything is impossible

as “lifetime”                “beauty”                “clusterfuck”