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Shadow on Concrete Wall

Excerpt from SEAS

During my possession I’ve had amazing hair, we’re both out of control:

throwing flames and furniture, a chair bounces against a tree: it’s fall.

Everything I touch turns to neon, the demon checks its email on my phone


We learn possession the way we learn gender, it’s part of our make-up: after I

saw the devil in the mirror in the girl’s bathroom, I had to review my stance

on evil: the girl who looks like me / is afraid of reading unsupervised / the

girl who looks like me / doesn’t think that god likes her music

We touch in close lightning. we love by a fierce perimeter

we speak with the accent of our hands

or our gestures move in a tongue figured as fire

               Just reading about the flame of a candle gives me a possession

This is my genius: an abolition of time

This is me pre-individual

Did this possession swoop into me or did I uncover it by some inadvertent

archaeology: did I move the couch and the ghost flew out


Possession is the ghost of devout ecstasy, the shadow side of this dialectic:

this epileptic: what happens when your guest has no name


A twin is a ghost who is right there: you are the guest of the ghost: a

mathematical necessity, that a point will have an inverted double on the

surface of a sphere: in a typical neural reversal, a possession is a mirror



I want to come home, back from the dead / I want to read guides written by

others: she washes up close to me / she has my face / floating like an apple:

she says that I can build a city on the water / and she has a little journal: we

touch in close lightning, contracted in a blue shock at the fingertip 


                 She looks at me: a revelation

Midway through my possession I take up meditation: when I can’t change the

condition of my thoughts, I can change the power of my feelings. We are

dysregulated / the host takes a deep breath. She guides me through her inside


Her skin slips, a latex over an airlock: slick, imprecise, this is why she takes on many forms

The host holds her arms out to me, maternal: the guest curls up into her new machine


The filmy cloud forms a nest around my heart


Somewhere in me a light turns on and the film of my heart sheens:

somewhere in me an egg opens / around my face an egg / the dust is a

flickering snow. My host is warm and safe, I am compelled to burrow down.

I am compelled to flex and convulse beautifully, familiarizing myself with the

controls / with this new material, its contours, where it gives, where it

constricts: to announce my presence: I walk through the host, she shimmers

around me, the host clings to me, her film sticks in my mouth, it slides, wet,

down my back


I cling to the veil

by writing this possession i am laying silk over a tree, it’s a general outline, a

soft container


My body extends, like a ray or tree: I have a starting point and no end: this

image has no physics, it’s impossible


I am the author of my own nightmares, an animal working in the dark / my

vision plunges, an arrow sharp at both ends


Sometimes I hear music from the floor

and it’s all in separate teeth          





like opening a beautiful comb

Elle Longpre is a musician and author of the book How to Keep You Alive (CCM 2017), as well as five chapbooks of poetry, prose, and image. Her work has been anthologized, translated into French, and has appeared in APARTMENT, jubilat, la vague, blush lit, Deluge, the Volta, elimae, and other publications. They earned their PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Denver, and can be found in the woods.

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