Qumran by Andrea Witzke Slot

Scrolled parchment, spiraled into safe-
keeping. Texts pressed, snailed into cells.

Flesh scrolled into mine, just an arm
spun over my waist, my back pressed

to a stomach, hips spooled into parchment
of thighs, hands domed beneath fingers

intersticed, fingers that shudder every so often,
as if to remind me that morning is not yet,

as if to say 4am is but a bookmark,
an airlocked reserve, a reed pen,

a cave of punctuation mark. Aide-
mémoire. Where-to-return. Papyrus

of iron-gall and carbon soot sheets, we
are tucked into as little space as possible,

in these coils of elsewhere. Nobody knows
us here and we can hardly decipher it ourselves,

yet if this dead sea life is but an afterthought
of words without words, sleep without sleep,

then leave me here, pressed between
mornings, coppered into clay pot dark.

Andrea Witzke Slot is author of To find a new beauty (Gold Wake Press, 2012) and her essays on dialogic poetry are forthcoming in critical collections with SUNY Press and Palgrave Macmillan. She teaches at UIC, and is an editor at Rhino Poetry as well as the book review editor at Fifth Wednesday Journal.