Anomalous Press - Oliver Strand - Skill Scale Skull - Poetry

Skill Scale Skull

Oliver Strand

Author's Note



"Not many yards away a thrush built her nest on the handle of a coal truck
   and reared three young." Not an outline,
a volume. A volume without an outline:
it's the house with the concrete steps, the foot lifting.
It's the house inside the church.
An outline without a volume:
I think it's hospitality but I can't be hospitable to myself.
I must be waiting for someone.


Prepared or presented "as though to function biologically
or as if to illustrate a textbook of anatomy or of dramatic expression":
   the person
is taking off his or her coat while driving
or is speaking with a cough drop in his or her mouth.
It it it it. It looks like a ball, a bag, a bird
but it's a leaf floating uphill.

Another day in a tree: two leaves, a bird and a leaf, two birds.


It's laminate exhaust milk mist or smoke and the flame wind embroidery.
Look no. Yeah. Oh you're holding it.
Here wait. No turn it around. There.
"The next day I put a net under the ice."

The back and forth spreads out and vibrates. It's see through
and the only remaining visible element is scale. The objects
soak up the comparison until they look identical.


How far is the person's front from his or her back?
The inside almost touches the outside. Placement

of the center point anywhere or many people with the same name.
"Who are you?"
"I don't know. I never met you before."
Something and the sound of something else "worked in the following order:

first the cloth stitch, then the lace ground and the ribbed wheels, the cut bars,
   wheels set close together in the middle, and darned bars."

The hand is larger than and in the same place as what it leaves.


The same day. The sky the same color
as on another day: how could one know this?

"There are so many" fixed parts "knit with"
the parts that change. You
can move the upper jaw with your neck.
Two people embrace. Two more people embrace.
Four people embrace. How long does it take?

A body without a shadow: no surface
blocking another "the effects of left and right"
a hand the impression
is of a question because the hand is empty.


I already know the answer to any question
I can ask myself. The person wasn't thinking
what to say. He or she was waiting. "Squares

moving into a corner"
so it's "elbow quilted" or water in the wrist at the edge of the mouth or bill it's
   the person's name but it's spelled wrong keys
tied to his or her shoelace.


"As a rule the tong handles terminate in a ball."
I'm reading the name letter by letter. A shadow
on a roof, a ruler
taped to the windowpane: it's an inch at this distance.
Everyone's standing outside together in a line.

Oliver Strand is an M.F.A. candidate at Brown University. He received his B.A. in literature from Harvard College, where he also studied music composition. He spent a year in Japan as a Michael C. Rockefeller fellow studying woodworking. His furniture has been exhibited at the New Hampshire Furniture Masters' Gallery. His music compositions have been performed at the Salle Cortot of the École Normale de Musique in Paris, the Juilliard School's Morse Hall, and Boston's Jordan Hall.