“The corpse staggers…”

by Kaitlin Kalk

“The corpse staggers down the street”
I have walled myself into a fort
to seek refuge from a leering world
I slowly collected discarded twigs
and other wooden fragments
and wove a barricade
congealed and hardened with biological discardments of my own
a symbiosis of dead cells
reanimated in their corruption to enclose
and offer protection from outward bedlam
mummified, I now rest gravely
my chest heavy from the concrete layers piled upon it
restricts its shallow breaths
yes, the dead breathe
and offer vows, and embark on pilgrimages
seeking shelter from cruel winds
of wildfires and human scorn
both burning the victim
one from the outside
the other from within

Welcome essay:
After living what felt like a lifetime of negative interactions and harmful social conditioning that denied me my humanity, my brain became so damaged that I no longer had full faculty of my senses. In order to go out into the world I had to put a barricade around myself to distance myself from the environment that I deemed to be too dangerous. As a result, I was never fully present. I was afraid to use my eyes, I was afraid to use my ears, and I was afraid to use my heart because I had been taught for so long to suppress my feelings. In this unhealthy state, I was basically dead.

Poet biography:
Kaitlin Kalk is a poet living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is a life-long laborer of dead-end, menial jobs, which has slowly eaten away at her self-esteem and her belief in her own humanity. By writing poetry, she is able to find some meaning to her life and to recognize the inherent worth of her existence. 

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