Daniel Khalastchi: “Representational Invention To Mask More Serious Emotional Concerns”

Representational Invention To Mask More Serious Emotional Concerns

For the last three hours, I have sat on
your bathroom floor inventing a body

more able than my own. The model is
hardly functional, but it comes equipped

with the pull-string and edible crotchless
underwear you always said would serve well

to cover my poorly misidentified detachment
fetish. In its reclined position, the body says only

the few words I remember from my most recent
humiliating student evaluation forms. I had

hoped for more control, but the wiring
won’t respond to water, or lighter fluid, or

my own bald nakedness trying to bring its
member to climax. From a radio I hear

an aversion therapist tell me inside your lover’s
brother is the man her father will always wish you were

able to avoid. You are in the hallway or it is only
the police. This body, like others, I will leave

in emergency.

Daniel Khalastchi is the author of two books of poetry, Manoleria (Tupelo Press, 2011) and Tradition (McSweeney’s, 2015). A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, his poems have appeared in a variety of publications, including Colorado Review, Fence, Iowa Review, Mississippi Review, The Rumpus, and Best American Experimental Writing. He is the co-founder and managing editor of Rescue Press, and he lives in Iowa City where he directs the Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing.