Tracy Fuad: »Gong«
Tracy Fuad

Tracy Fuad: »Gong«

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I have exhaled
Fricatives percussively
Observing the weak drum
Of my abdomen
In the mirror
To reactivate
The muscles
Which hold in
My organs.
I have imagined
The rootlets
Of new nerves
To carry sensation
Back the crescent
Of numbness
Above the line
That marks the boundary
Of no dimension
In between us.
Sometimes I love best
When I can’t see
What I am loving
When I am
Away from you
One morning
In November
On the bridge that spans
The artificial waterway
Which was once
A drainage ditch
And then an ersatz route
For boat traffic
A shallow channel
Into which the body
Of Rosa Luxemburg
Was thrown
Though today
The water is
Primarily a site
Of recreation
Where at present
I was sipping
When my eyes
Locked with the eyes
Of someone else’s child
Moving pliantly
Into the future
Just like I do
Permanently turned against
The substance
I am moving through
Scrolling backward
Through the weeks
To bring myself
Up to the present.
The problem is
That everything
Has been shellacked
At its own limit
With a varnish
All relation
Meaning that I am unable
To actually see you
Even as your tiny fingers
Claw at me
And mark me
With tiny lacerations.
Shellac comes from
The lac bug
A resin that collects
On the twigs
Of a plum or pelage tree
Excreted through the pores
Of limbless female insects
Who burrow
In the bark
As they produce
Their many eggs
Completing two full life cycles
Each year.
The twigs are harvested
By cutting
Then crushed
Between two iron wheels
To harvest the resin
Which is sifted and heated
And pulled into sheets
Then dissolved in a solvent
And sold.
I only hear the ringing
Certain mornings
Of the bells
Which mark the hour
On the weekends
Though the weeks
Are endless
If unmarked
By scheduled labor
Days slack around my ankles
Gathering concentrically
Around the soft form
Of your body
Like a tree
Producing new growth
In the cambium
At the trunk’s periphery
Each tree’s infancy
Inscribed at its true center
Meeting each new year
Completely bare.
Other days
It seems the air
Stands dumbed.
Are bells gongs?
Are gongs bells?
Some instruments
Just will themselves
To earth.
The flute carved
From a thigh bone
Unearthed from deep
Within the caves
Of modern-day Slovenia.
And the triangle.
Whose bodies oscillate
Around a point
Of equilibrium
Ringing with
Indefinite pitch.
What emotion has
The highest frequency?
What is
My normal mode?
Keep in mind
This isn’t science.
When you came
The bells were still
In their towers
The sun also suspended
In the darkness
Of official night
Its geometric center
Eighteen degrees
Beneath the line
Of the horizon
Inching upward
Through the twilights
Nautical and civil
Then it dawned
On us
And everything
And rung and rung.


Reprinted with permission from »PORTAL« by Tracy Fuad, published by the University of Chicago Press.
© 2024 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.



Tracy Fuad was born in Minneapolis and has lived in Berlin since 2020. Her second collection of poetry, »PORTAL«, won the Phoenix Emerging Poets’ Prize and will be published by the University of Chicago in 2024. She is also the author of »about:blank«. She teaches poetry at the Berlin Writers’ Workshop.