Jessica Baran

THESE ARE MOMENTS that should be recorded. An excess of history and no words — the unutterable gulf between wanting connection and losing its object. Tiny strobe-like fireflies on the low, dark horizon. You were looking the wrong way, at the fuchsia light dying in the sky. What is it to you? What is owed, how are you seen? A head severed from its body, floating away from the self. Something out of a Northern Renaissance etching or B horror flick — texturally discordant but affectively kin. You talk and talk and touch your face and none of it meets a source. There was the terror of the past and the banality of the present. Screaming until you couldn’t, fleeing your own home in order to feel safe; now, chit-chat, paper plates, gingham tablecloths. As simple as a light switch yet as incomprehensible as a life distilled into a single, magisterial tome. A story both dense with action and unconventional in execution, driving you through the woods and the underworld at once. How does one structure a heap? Flesh-bound, rapacious, nothing meant to keep.

JESSICA BARAN is a poet, curator and critic based in St. Louis, Missouri. You can find her online at