Natalie Eilbert: At Ingolstadt, Black
, & The Rapist Joins AA

At Ingolstadt

00:00 / 00:00

To be one of the caught you must first have a body that can be took.
Slowly I ate all the houseflowers, what good are dumb bodies.

I drank my fair-trade coffee, twirled my hair, and died lumpy royalty.
Only birds are a thing with feathers. God was a nasturtium head I bit off.

So were the birds. I can animate lifeless clay any hour of any day.
I would teach it to be never and it would collapse the legs of steers.

It would rise from its clay and masturbate an incipient disease into plague.
I would be the timely flesh of its ancestry. Cocaine the dishonor from it.

I’m too many parties lately, old whores’ petticoats to SoHo, bored highheels.
How can anyone hold a job these days if they aren’t even raising the dead.

A belly forms out from this crop-top like an obvious epigram.
One must never believe shame doesn’t guide every choice from infancy.

My animated clay would travel winters to learn its dysmorphia fully.
It would return skinny and hateful for I only wish to be skinny and hateful.

And in a private message it would attach a zipfile of our bad letters.
Any day now, I will send out a cadre of clay to wake up the old man.

What he did to me was a crime. What he did to me was a crime.

Black Walnuts

00:00 / 00:00

This little car alarm of a landscape.
Quickly the men were gone. In their place
a black walnut husked, unhusked.

The women used to laugh at the image
of a world without men. They laughed
because it was so clearly a place of safety.

They laughed because it could never be safety.
I’m hurting myself against a walnut tree.
I’m hurting myself against a walnut tree with three fingers.

I think of an early parable
when the disease spread only on Wall Street,
a tree chased itself back into a woman

and lo, she was plain.
The world looked on her miracle
as a poppable zit. She brunched alone

biscuits-&-gravy’d alone. Sometimes she would
absorb a treenut into her belly. She wanted
to stroke love inside it. So she went shunned

and devouring shwarma. So she entered boutiques
bought formless dresses for she was ashamed.
Men would greet her with measuring tape

and inspiring kindness. She wept over kale.
Her tears formed a dressing over her blandness.
Men shivered with blank black devotion

and now they saw her butterface in fever.
As they expired, her beauty grew. She formed
a round, feminine chin, a cute button nose.

She walked from suit to dead suit, emptied them.
No one could explain how sorry she wasn’t.
They called her black cancer. Black walnuts grew

from her ears in reply. When she sucked the gas
out of tanks her beauty was such. She draped
her waist in nothing but houndstooth now. So frequently

she wasn’t a tree. But what is a tree.
The mutability of the banished woman.
The mutability of the banished woman.

Tree, heifer, limestone, linseed, apple, twerk.
Sometimes in the telling of her, she tessellates
bark and returns to her tree-state

and this is so much better than flesh.
It is precious to imagine any woman’s business
done. I like my version. My terrible vision.

She grows fat from swallowing the meat
of so many plagued hands. She wants nothing
to remain of the artifact of man. She plants

their bones deep in the earth to seed.
Finally no woman is beautiful. The country
quits sucking in. I said it could never be safety.

The Rapist Joins AA

00:00 / 00:00

Received an email, formally written.
Was sorry for that night all those years ago. Signed sincerely.

Never spoke to anyone about this letter, the amends that must have been hiding

between his naked unwieldy body and the open kitchen door.

Deleted the email outright. Went to my Trash. Deleted it there too.
Looked to my History. Deleted my History.

Focused back on those kitchen lights. Beaming grease. On the man.

Was the only night I ever drove drunk. The dark was not God’s back turned away.

Very drunk.

Drove slowly, imagined my car reeling home on a thick yellow string.
The machine I would carry also imagined this thick yellow string.

Parked delicately in a diner parking lot. Was worried an idle car
on the shoulder would spark interest. Was a very smart girl.

Walked to the back of the diner. Practiced a quiet retch to alert no
leaving teens.

Let the poisons spill out of me with grace, with grace.
When no new liquids came to me, knew I was empty. Black hollows there

like a wet dead possum in the snow.

Deleted the liquid. Deleted the snow.

Did not wait a moment longer before pulling myself back to the car.

Must have been I was a very dumb girl. There was an exit could’ve tried harder
to find. Friends all in the next room. Could have screamed.

When he pulled away had said sorry quite sincerely. Left him crying there, my name in his mouth.

My curse to him was that I would not speak.

Silence as a duct which sucked hard to take him. Sucked so hard
his skin ripped from the bones in his face. Sucked so hard

all his great big dogs died of cancer. Sucked so hard
they pulled the overdose out of his stomach, stuffed

charcoal instead down his throat until he couldn’t stop himself
from shitting on the doctor’s table.

Sucked so hard his love for a woman became the charcoal inside him
that would force him uncontrollably to purge in public

until his love for a woman became hate for his woman.

Sucked so hard he never even had a father. His mother a cat sick with worms
they had to put down.

That it would be his brother who would win out the suicide contest,
who did it right alone and drunk in his parent’s basement.

Sucked so hard his back gave out, his herniated disks occurred to him like a Greek choir.

That pain would only ever occur to him.
The way he would only ever come across an animal long dead and stiff with maggots.

That the dumb little smart girl would find him there for years after watching him crawl.

When the road was a beached whale letting me follow it home.

Of course it rained.

Turned the familiar left onto my street. Parked the car in that night.
The dark was not where a deer concludes. Not the suicidal pupils continuing on.

The dark did not instruct
on how to remove the bruises from my dumb little smart girl breasts.

Deleted the breasts. Deleted the night.

And so arrived home safely.


ART: Teri Frame, Line Kallmayer

FICTION: Matt Dojny, Jessica Halliday, Corey Zeller

NONFICTION: Brandel France de Bravo, Line Kallmayer, Ben Merriman, Nicole Walker

POETRY: Mary Jo Bang, Sam Cha, Ching-In Chen, Natalie Eilbert, John Estes, Jessica Fjeld, Margaret LeMay, Nina Puro, Lauren Russell, Dara-Lyn Shrager, Donna Stonecipher, Henry Walters, Kerri Webster, Betsy Wheeler

00:00 / 00:00