Kimberly Campanello: Four Prose Poems


She went over the Alps on foot twice, both times to ask permission. In the interpretive centre I stepped into the priest hole first. On the audio track I heard whispers and the unsheathing of swords. I’m fine, I said. The relic kept behind the curtain and in a jar is a tiny hand. The priest’s vestments were hidden under a display of cloth and sewing notions he was supposed to pretend to sell. Pasta is described as ribbons. And sometimes as flesh hanging from a frame. That evening we ate both and practiced the compound past tense.



The Snake

The snake gave me a fix. I hadn’t known the cost. All the while I bought bread, I bought cherries. I made simple meals and the snake said no worries. I did four or five new dishes a week. I ran them by the snake and he said sure. I swallowed them all. He swallowed them all. We grew different. In the old stables lives a lady who I sometimes borrow butter from. She says it has to stop. These horseshoes above the doorframes don’t seem to be doing their job. I am drowning in plastic bags. I have nothing to hold. Everything I make passes through us. The back wall is crumbling and one day it will fall.



The Table

In a minor but unrelenting way I made sure I could still eat it. I was happy to look it in the eye when it was brought out. I lifted the lashed lid. The others at the table were more or less content. Its eyes were blue and her eyes were blue. I believed she was from somewhere else simply because of her vowels. Wanting and wishing and vowing and sermon are all the same and were same in her mouth. But there was something else. Possibly the word for the dish. When she offered it, it slid toward omen. The brain was good-sized, well-flavoured with itself. I thought about its thoughts. I wondered what it wondered. For the briefest of moments I saw sky and smelled grass and shit. I stayed quiet. I left the others to their devices. When it was time to pay I brought down my briefcase from the brass rack overhead. I handed out the brochures. I explained the specificity of the offer. I explained the driving force. I made sure they understood. Consider me a visionary, I argued. I have never seen the inside of my esophagus though one man actually has. Proprioception is a timely topic, one of them offered. A snake swallowing its tail.



The Well

The well had been full of rubbish, which the archaeologists appreciated. Now bars criss-cross the lip to prevent us from gathering its waters. The tipis where they serve gin are always busy. The daffodils have a symbolic number of petals to mark the massacre. I could murder a steak burger or a stew. You will have noticed that I’ve made every effort to explain to visitors which wall is from which century and how it seems only one book survived that particular transition. This piped-in smell of the past has me starving.



Kimberly Campanello’s most recent project is MOTHERBABYHOME, a 796-page poetry-object comprising conceptual and visual poetry on the St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co. Galway. New poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 3:AM’s Poem Brut series, Poem Atlas: EscapismsThe White ReviewThe London Magazine, and Poetry Ireland. She was awarded a 2019 Markievicz Bursary for (S)worn State(s), a poetry collaboration with Dimitra Xidous and Annemarie Ní Churreáin. In March 2020 she represented the UK in Munich at Klang Farben Text: Visual Poetry for the 21st Century, a festival inspired by the international concrete poetry movement of the 1950s and 60s. She is Programme Leader for the BA English Literature with Creative Writing and a member of the Poetry Centre in the School of English at the University of Leeds.


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+44(0)1873 810456 | LYN@GLASFRYNPROJECT.ORG.UK