Cryptic Species

(1) morphology/ n. the study of the forms of things, esp. 1 Biol. the study of the forms of organisms. 2 Philos. a the study of the forms of words. b the system of forms in a language.

For most the body. Her body, bends backward, U-shaped and supple. She is capable of being flexible. Gumby to his pokey. She is a flexible woman. If anything is said. Let it be said. She was never inflexible. Foremost. The body. A complex system of joints and limbs. The organs are discreet. Secretions. (Secretive). Until a failure, a cascade of complications. The metaphor fails us when a part signifies the whole. The entire system can be breached. Synechdotal. She will not question her organs until they begin to fail. This is known as betrayal. She feels betrayed by her body.

Askew. A loose cannon in a quiver. A screw loose in an empty house. Shutting the door before the hoarse cries. Spilled. Pooling on the kitchen floor. The body. Supine. The spine and legs curved back, S-shaped. Milk. The carton tipped on its side.

Her hair’s punctuation. Black on white. The strands, strong, her mane of hair, from somewhere a breeze suggests. Her hair slithers, dry like sand. We are suspicious. Something is wrong with this picture. Each part creates a whole. Observe. What cannot be quantified will be qualified. She met his qualifications. There is a procedure.

The forms were filled.

(We look for the beginning. The source. The tumour, the lifestyle, the diet, the inheritance, the cell, etc. The world is filled with forms and nouns. Each has a capacity. A cavity. Caveat.)

She can often be found in the kitchen. The lock, she thinks, is insufficient, but then so is a single pane of glass. A simple hammer-blow, even a sharp jab of elbow and the entire house. Breached. The house is emblematic of security. Most people accept this representation. She knows that it is a construction.

She does not like the dead in bolt.

She loves the whisper of her hair across the skin of her back. Susurrus. Between the blades of her shoulders. The shiverslide, cool and delicious. When she wears a halter top she swings her hair as a form of self love. Kimochi ii. Ii kimochi. It works either way. Though it is not the same. As touching herself with her hands. When she can feel herself touching and feeling. But her hair. She can only feel the hairs’ touch, being touched, not her own touching. Gentle. Cool. Silky. Her own touch, other, but—

She loves it.

She swings her hair, a side-to-side motion. The sound of whispering. Sand. The desert’s startling of night.


She turns the deadbolt. Solid click. She unlocks it to repeat the action. To repeat the action. Like a cartridge in a barrel. She can’t be too sure. She can’t be certain. Enough. The solid click of a cartridge in a barrel. She turns.

The deadbolt.


The window. Catches.

Her self.


(Slow pan, receding. The bubbles dissolve into dirty water. Cooling. The deadbolt signified. The window left unlatched.)

Time passes.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “Cryptic Species”?

Biological term: cryptic species (found “foraging” online). Ideas of camera technique in film. Feminism.

What poetic techniques did you use in “Cryptic Species”?

Near rhymes. Word associations. Multiple word meanings utlized through line break. Alliteration. Assonance. Repetition. Allusion. Prose poem format.

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