(cabbage leaf, starting to wilt, folded in half, covered with foundation)

Your veins show through, the skin softens and puckers, a pink wrinkly bud. Folding in the middle, a tender surrender, or an attempt to paste tint over the furrows and the deltas, the loosening softness. Jia Jia said “foundation,” but I didn’t understand, thought it was something solid, something to stand on, not spackle. Not Dior or L’Oreal, drugstore or Sephora, brand name disappearing into cabbage. “Her face was as plain as cabbage,” still jealous of this simile. Was it Chekhov? In forgetting, I search for the new. Anton Pavlovich would have eaten so much cabbage and loved the tender deficiencies of this leaf more than a bald glossy head in the field, still juicy and firm, a promise both full and empty, while this leaf is only itself, and why, why is that more than enough


Ribs of an unknown animal, glitter and shine. Eyeless, you perceive only yourself,
fully contained beneath the sheer of luster. What is a face?
Valleys and peaks of glossed refusals, presenting itself to the world
though it can’t control what the world sees.

We layer years, sweaters, dreams.

What’s it like to be made of skin layers? Nothing to hold you up, no backbone. 
Is this why you hide, folding into yourself? The wood too flows with memories
of growth, we all bear the scars of our own arrivals. We can’t even see them, 
do you realize, we forget what we’re made of, our betrayals concealed 
beneath something that appears to be good


(the driest cabbage leaf, flat, torn)

You took off your dress, 
yet I still see the curve of your spine 
in the fading light

Invisible headwaters
A river too has a mouth,
A tributary or a vein,
A watershed of juice
I am a floodplain for your tears 
Where to find their end 
or their beginning

The light hits the smudge, crepe, the bruise of 
your skin, thinned memory of ___ and ___

I could stand on the thinnest layers 
between myself and the world

Images by Jia Jia, text by Karolina Letunova