1 (state street)  
    2 (deer path)  
    3 (midtun)  

From pictures  
    my breath    
    sleeptalking to Dilja  
    golden dip  

Sadie Cook
Three weeks before my thesis show, my college moved online.

A week later, I emailed my thesis panel to ask if I could mail them prints.

Three days after that, I walked out of Walgreens with a plastic bag of prints. I sat on the curb and addressed six envelopes and dropped my photographs down a mail chute.

That same day, I texted my friend part of the essay Bewilderment by Fanny Howe:

If I, for instance, want to tell you that a man I loved, who died, said he loved me on a curbstone in the snow, but this occurred in the time after he died, and before he died, and will occur again in the future, I can't say it grammatically.

You would think I was talking about a ghost, or a hallucination, or a dream, when in fact, I was trying to convey the experience of a certain event as scattered and non-sequential.


In so many senses making these spiral, or serial poems, is very close to dream-construction, where we collect our most emotionally charged moments and see how they interact, outside of the usual story-like narrative. And ultimately I see the whole body of work as existing all but untitled and without beginning or end, an explosion of parts, the quotidian smeared.

When I read this, I sat bolt up right.  “This is photography!” I thought, “Smeared quotidian! Yes!”

To me, my pictures feel like sun freckles or scars--results of encounters that stay on me and change and don’t go away. I want to understand the hold my photographs have on my awareness of my body. I want my photographs to be objects that have weight and evolve.  I wanted my thesis to arrive in my professors’ houses as prints, and stay there, and get smudged by their fingerprints.

Sometimes, I stand on the toilet in my bathroom so I can see my whole body in the mirror above the sink and pose like the pink picture of my bruises and track the changes in my appearance. I’m paler now. I’m thinner. My hipbones stick out a little and there are three long hairs beneath my belly button and a big space between my legs and two new piercings and a small pink scar. I like that I look different. The differences make it feel true that that picture is in the past. But I’ve done this so often that that picture is ingrained in my muscle memory. I fall into the pose so easily--arms up, twist to the left, right leg forward.

For me, right now, everything is about touch. I look at two trees twisted together and think about the space between people. I look at plastic wrap and think about the separation of air, the allowance for touch without actual contact.