Maren Schiffer

from “The Hysteric Fragments”


Yesterday I confused the words carceral and corporal.

I knew carceral sounded strange as I was attempting to distinguish

a physical existence from that of the soul and even divine.

How can we extract the holy body?




blah blah wordbible of what’s possible and what exists.


Feeling back in chest, mildly.

Who can say what did it? Being seen fully by a meme as unable, due to everything but


Was it Will’s post about nuns?


Photo caption title: I want to show you my acne scars from when I couldn’t find anyone

to have sex with so I stopped taking birth control and also I was depressed and so didn’t

refill but didn’t know I had pcos because why would I and my hormones went all over

my face. The doctor showed me the ultrasound. Never seen the insides of my ovaries

since. Small dots to multiply, cancel out the eggs. Queer art of failure, you may not have

kids except bi and potential of impregnability, and she asked: will you proofread my

letter about baseball when done. In San Francisco, the game, I went with my son.

Photo description: Wearing pale green collared shirt, large, buttoned near to top. Gray

shirt underneath, cotton neckline showing. Right side of face pressed near to computer

camera for loving exam, a tender gaze please, inspector inspecting inspected


I miss LA. Dim sum on Sundays and warm skin sun. I am only a passenger in this car.

I am very clean now, which is good. How might a clean person pursue the day?

Orders of business, yes yes. Pet the cat. Process unexamined grief, leaflets, and

move through, not past.



● Messaged w/ an idol on popular app. Resisted revealing myself

as fan, putting her on pedestal. But hope I was respectful(!!)!

She was generous and didn’t agonize over her words, like me.

● Stretched on a beautiful tree to create opportunity for appreciating

beauty and innovative use, no descriptors.

● Let wind “clean” me w/ new lichen on rock

● Pet Clem, orange hairs erupt

● Ate Mango Drip


C looked to google for the symbolic significance of my nervousness in stomach, being

nausea and eating little. (I’m losing weight, and I think my breasts are smaller than they

were two weeks ago, before I was nervous. Is it healthy to miss them??) It said: fear of

letting go. Redirect this energy to what you want the future to look like.

Googled myself later. All I got were medical responses. Read about my generalized

anxiety, considered social phobia, OCD, the pits.


E: “tipped out of my sarcophagus.”

The poet of the book I’m reading strokes my hair as he sits on the edge of my bed.

His hair is greasy and his face so soft.

Maren Schiffer is a bi poet currently living, walking, and lilac-seeking in Lowell, Massachusetts. You can read some of her recent works in Denver Quarterly and The Sonora Review. She teaches poetry and writing at various universities and organizations near her and through the virtual sphere. You can connect w/ her at