Four Poems
Laura Kochman

Posted Notice -- November 29

If you call this number, I will tell you a story. The story has two rooms, and one of them is in ruins. One of them is waterlogged. One of them rusts, or sheds sand. Or etches itself with seawater. One of them curdles. One of them sinks lower, holds tight to itself and turns in, cannot look at anything else. Or it has salt in its eyes.

Posted Notice -- December 1

If you call this number, I will tell you a lie. The lie has two legs, and it runs away. It runs in circles and digs itself a dry moat. It is dry as a bone. Or it is dry as its own old siding. The lie is full of leaves, cracking and settling and falling to pieces all over the floor. Each leaf has a thin stem, a hair down its center and by this hair all the leaves are connected, and from somewhere hidden the hair grows. Or it dies at the root. Or there are no leaves, and the lie is empty. The floor is cold. You can see nothing of this from outside, from the windows boarded up and the keyhole full of teeth.

Posted Notice -- December 10

If you call this number, I will tell you a trick. The trick has hinges, half one thing and half another. Both are rotten. Or both are sopping wet, and twisted up with seaweed. Or they are tied together with a hank of hair. Or they do not know each other. They do not trust each other. One has stolen the other, and tied together they sink into the sea.

Letter to a Tenant -- December 16

I believe this may be the truth: I have driven you away. Or the wave has driven you away. Or I am not a force of nature. I am not a load-bearing wall. From the balcony, you might have seen so many things, heard the whistle of marine animals in the night. You might have felt a warning. Or you warmed to it, licked all the salt off your body before climbing into bed at night. Rubbed sand into your teeth, tiled the walls with sea glass. I believe this may be the truth: your suitcase is full of sand. The sand is full of ground-up shells, which will echo as the suitcase swings in your hand. You will hear the Whale Bone Man calling, remember the trail of his fingers in the humid air as he made strange signs, drew in his nets. You will slide across the sea to him as though the water had turned to glass, or was slick as shell. Or you will sink. Or you are spineless. You have left your bones behind.