Excerpts from Felicia Zamora’s poetry manuscript, Silence for the Rest of Class, a finalist for the 2015 TS Book Prize.



It is the orbit that heavies me. Lagan swing:
tethers built in

cells and atoms. A sunken thing
with promise of drift. Abundance of the lack

of shores. Reciprocal to motion. What must
sling back. Jelly fish must obey the lap.

Egret, hunts motionless in crouch,
swivels head side-to-side to reduce refraction.

Beak a spear: caught
in cycles—inherent in design. The tongue

bound in the mouth, learns. A child’s game
grew first in the Thalamus; consciousness’ guard.

What doesn’t grow in seclusion—know
the tilt of the earth inside you; a thought specs

in the mind and announces itself. Bewitch you.
Are we not in pull to this? Crouched like Egrets.

The ever-stream held tight in the wrap:
skeletal muscles, fat, and tissues. Bits becoming.

And we flow
as we must flow to cradle together
all fleshy heavens, all dowsed in sun’s lull.




The underside of flesh {where light must soak}: a broken thing
etches —songs score along blood vessel, your throat
cannot sing the occult notes, your lungs in constant
deflate {all these wounds puncture wounds}, fill
unable–the scribe of defining {a heart
borrows what must must keep rhythm} unbeknownst
the brain in its bone-ivory tower; tendrils
lighthouse the salt licked shores while tethered to spine
spirals wither in {under use, over use—choose if you suit} diurnal
tide-song in the belly where you first begot: a mistake
that emerged your infant hands in clutch. Before wail, before
amniotic drained from your pores, a broken thing
gave 23 chromosomes to an egg which enveloped—you
diploid and aligned {wave and inlet: lovers
raging by their attraction to sun and moon {you moon;
you moon, dark and suffocating}}: ancient
civilizations worshiped the stars
with both awe and fear they were denied—origin
lay only in a compass-less map and the bright bright
burn against the dark {galaxies streaming inside
out} forcing them to look, look away, look again.




I saw the rabbit in the drainpipe and thought you not bunny. Ode to hide
in linings; our innate desire to crease our edges and fold—origami style
into ergonomic chairs that still contort us; out of flesh into words
we missile, retract, blow ourselves up—over and over
like a child itches the bite; blood; more blood. We don’t learn to suck flesh
we just do: pull the open slice right into the mouth—taste ourselves
raw fluid and ease. Pseudo oval shape of the snake tail in the snake jaws, unable
to swallow the joke. My nephew learned to sooth on his own. I lay
next to him, listening to him knock tongue to mouth roof—symphony
in clicks of his lips apart, together, apart. Do we learn to mimic or mimic to learn?
I test my lips; think of Jack; smile. Learn. When I watch the kids, I’m “Aunt ___”.
Days following, the prefix sticks and oozes—identity mess. Oh, the rabbit
tapes back her ears; pretends to slither among the pipes, metal and hollow. My rabbit heart.
My rabbit reflex set to scurry, scurry. A part of learning chunks away at us. A part
we play requires us to unlearn. Instinct instinct instinct. Shed of filament—thoracic cavity
exposed; I stick my finger through these ribs, poke the ventricles (left then right), feel the fill
apex of the heart nestled to the diaphragm—lovers. As a system always in cycle
in recycle around {} until cut, or broken, or rigor mortis consumes. A mind in a body grows
seeded by hand or by doe in burrow or by wind spreading: a field in a field
in a field. Inside holds something, if at last: space.



Felicia Zamora is author of the chapbook Moby-Dick Made Me Do It (Flat Cap Publishing 2010). Her published works may be found or forthcoming in Bellevue Literary Review, Camas, Crazyhorse, Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose, ellipsis…literature and art, Harpur Palate, Potomac Review, Puerto del Sol, The Carolina Quarterly, The Laurel Review, The Journal, The Normal School, The Pinch Journal, Witness Magazine, Zone 3, and others. Her manuscript Quotient was a finalist for the 2014 Sawtooth Poetry Prize (Ahsahta Press) and the 2013 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Prize (Red Hen Press); her work has been nominated for a Pushcart. She is an associate poetry editor for the Colorado Review, a fall 2012 Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency poet, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Colorado State University.


Where do we find connectivity of self? As equally human and thing, we bind to the strange and lovely cycles of life, just as the seasons bind to Earth’s slow turn. With each new recognition of our innate tethers to the world, we un-learn our capabilities, our histories, to experience the self dually: as internal presence and external presence. In moments of noise and in moments of quiet, we witness true/false reflections of ourselves in landscape, the flesh, the requirements of society, and most deeply in our own minds.