Connective Tissue // Valk Fisher
I. September 27, 2018
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARING ON THE NOMINATION OF BRETT M. KAVANAUGH TO BE AN ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT, DAY 5, FOCUSING ON ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
It’s ripping season.
Or so the surgeon says, the knee is a hinge with only one degree of freedom, structurally
unsound for directional shift, meaning, your anterior cruciate ligament has torn.
The MRI shows an injury in Grade 3, diagnosing the tear as complete.
You picture: behind the patella’s turtle shell, the newly barbed ends in a bloody rift.
It – the world – would split
was one Poet’s conclusion to a question: what would happen
if a woman spoke the truth about her life?
Yours is a tear that’s fashioned for its times. Fallout from things that continue to split lands on one of only two sides.
She testifies in the tone of your prescriptions for pain. That sounds good. That would be great. Does that work? Do you mind? Sorry. I’m used to being collegial, so. Whatever is your preference.
You know it. You’ve taken it too, smeared yourself in enteric coating until becoming
slightly sweet on the tongue, safe for soft inner linings, anti-inflammatory.
The pundits like her. She’s pretty credible, pretty likeable, pretty believable.
Because she’s been resurfaced for swallowing?
IV. Dirty laundry
A president is on Twitter again. He wants to know why, why didn’t somebody call the FBI 36 years ago? This the newest in a series of closed questions.
In other words said, that dog. Crazed crying lowlife. Too disgusting, and fat! Miss Piggy bleeding badly, blood coming out of her wherever.
These things soak in your mind’s spin cycle but will not wash out clean. Trending power words soil. An actual Reckoning might involve whip-yielding witches, bleeding badly.
Your innermost parts come undone with the season, cooked inside like pulled pork.
V. A history of shame and the androgyny of abuse
The Committee has the same question. Why have you held it to yourself all these years?
How far back is it helpful to go?
Five-year-old you and dad are at the beach. You are to stay on the sand. He swims.
From the water a stranger, Come in! Don’t be scared. Do you like to swim? You do.
You look to ask dad. His eyes are covered in goggles.
He finds his daughter’s back held too tight against heaving breasts. You can’t access the details, but remember his furor. And then this small voice:
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please don’t tell Mom, I’m so, so sorry.
VI. Is all outrage made the same? And allowed questions?
I categorically and unequivocally deny the allegation: a national disgrace, a circus, a calculated political hit. I busted my butt. Got into Yale College. Got into Yale Law School. Going to church was like brushing my teeth. This is who I was. This is who I am. Use your common sense. What rings true? What rings false?
SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR (D, MN): You’re saying there’s never been a case where you drank so much you didn’t remember?
It’s, you’re asking about, you know, blackout. Have you? Have you?
VII. Taking Reconstruction
The problem with things that come apart is what to make of the severed pieces.
Your anterior cruciate ligament cannot be re-tied. The treatment is in the taking: fresh graft carved from living flesh, forced through bone-hollowed tunnels.
This is reconstruction.
VIII. Economics of Redistribution
Your friend is afraid to date women. The dynamics are all distorted. Men are rapists until proven decent. Consent contracts, really? Aren’t we overrationalizing a primal thing?
A friend slaps him with her furious fist: Do Not. You do not get to say that.
Who fits the brace? Meaning, who must wear it?
IX. Desire of a Mad Woman
In a dream you wander in a white-walled space with a brace on the place your jaw comes to a hinge. You scream from within for a pivot. Want of words rises like a balloon in your throat that wakes you with its rubber burst.
You see. The pathology was at the root. In the bruised purple morning it is clear. All along what you’ve wanted is to come unhinged.
The Poet referenced in section II is Muriel Rukeyser, the lines “It – the world – would split. / This was one Poet’s conclusion to the question of what might happen / if a woman spoke her life’s truth.” references her poem ‘Käthe Kollwitz’.
VALK FISHER is a Creative Writing postgraduate (MSt candidate, 2020) at Selwyn College, Cambridge. Valk is an essayist, poet, critic and nonfiction writer whose work gravitates towards politics, culture, gender and the body, often exploring points of intersection.