Response to Bhanu Kapil

By Laura Post

1. Who are you and whom do you love?

I pulled my teeth out

one by


felt the blood run sticky down my chin like

watermelon juice,

held my smile in the palm of my hand.

2. Where did you come from/how did you arrive?

I come from a blue line ballpoint-carved into a table,

the same self and a line of unremembered bodies.

I arrived of love contorted by suffering.

I was a key cut loose before the storm rolled in.

3. How will you begin?

I read somewhere that every drop of seawater

holds one billion atoms of gold:

Let me cry about something stupid.

4. How will you live now?

I will be the night sky,

my every star a green light.

5. What is the shape of your body?

Pack yourself in two boxes:

Loneliness and


6. Who is responsible for the suffering of your mother?

My mother was the one who showed me

how to burn holes with a magnifying glass

by letting the sun funnel through.

7. What do you remember about the earth?

My brother and I used to grow alligators

in the bathroom sink,

angry green capsules that bloomed

into spongyslick reptiles.

They slid through our grubby fingers

when we squoze.

8. What are the consequences of silence?

I was nothing but the tamarack’s shaking throat.

He wrote: “You display more emotion in your eyes than I display in my entire body.”

Only alarm would cure my hiccups.

9. Tell me what you know about dismemberment.

My mother likes to rearrange furniture that she brings home from the curb.

She is a woman with no questions.

10. Describe a morning you woke without fear.

I was the soil, mouth full of insects.

11. How will you/have you prepare(d) for your death?

As a child I would pour grape juice into a plastic cup

and leave it to the thirsty July air.

12. And what would you say if you could?

Be patient with me.

The questions in this poem were originally written and asked by Bhanu Kapil in her book, The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers, published by Kelsey St. Press.

Laura Post is from New Jersey and currently lives in Ohio. Her poetry has appeared in The Moth Magazine, New South, Occupy Poetry, and elsewhere.