Agreement - by Katharina J. Ferner - Eng. Translation: Jon Cho-Polizzi


Fling mail: A knotty program has arrived.

Tidily laced limbs, cobbled lips.

The package tilts.


Could make a bed on this cold floor.

Drawing up the weight of legs.

A slipmat.



The inner shadow stirs.

Searching for a way out.

Should we grant this freedom?

Are we prepared?



The knots push on ahead





A cheer for the ankles

And wrists!



Caution: Breaking free.



I travel nigh unveiled. Lacing sets the tone. Slide within the gaps. Accompany myself in an inbetween. The temperatureless progress of the way stations. The journey proceeds without further incident.

An advertisement comes to mind. Bright colors and melodies obtrude. And I must turn to escape them. Wait patiently until they’ve shimmered past and I can unwind again. Becoming round to take off the edge. Traveling, I encounter myself skin to skin. Sometimes it feels like another living being, and I lose feeling. First for the body. And only afterward: for time and space.



In my dreams I crawl outside myself. Can cover distances I couldn’t master otherwise. The progress is hard to register from outside, but I feel every centimeter as my body pushes on. Against all odds becoming a dreamhuntress. These spoils are nothing to be spurned. I consume them promptly and without regret. But dreaming is also exhaustion. Sometimes I wait long until I catch the right one, until it surrenders. And there is a satisfying end.



Always for a time. Coy offering of legs. A tangle between the lips. Gambling is easy. Allow the imagination to play out. I always win. In my imagination I always win. Is that a trick? Trick pictures from my childhood come to mind. Unequal body parts, grimaces, and twisted postures. Blooming shadow monsters. In my imagination I am a flip book. Thumb through me with lightning speed. Someone once cut their finger thumbing through too quick, without lifting a finger, without licking the tip. The paper’s edges have a life of their own. A trick.



Yearning for more. Stretching free. I grasp in the opening of skin between and something falls heavily away from me.

Pull at my knees and legs. Impatient chafing and this drag. Grit dissipating one fiber at a time.

In the language of my heart fingers and toes are called by the same name. Demand that they follow after one another, come together in proximity. The next step headfirst. Whoever runs ahead leaves traces, touches, touches down, we break through the skin between with combined forces. Penetrating through the final layers, colliding through leaky passageways. Nails. Nails. Skin. Skin. Skin.



The creation of a consistent moment of oscillation is hopeless. My pendulum is a firebrand. It swings beyond borders and drags me back and forth. Sometimes I rebel. I never know when it begins, when it ends. Offer myself slack to the ropes. Some days I almost lose my head or at the very least a foot. I present fresh-oiled wrists. In my imagination I swing over an open space and set myself furtively out of the frame. Weightless, even the most restive pendulum will find its peace.



The island is a cloud picture into which one will not fall softly. It looks like a storm, and I pull in my feet to not get wet. Hoarfrost settles in the pores. The final cold day of the season and still I’ll venture out. The sky looks brighter than normal in the lightning and my eyes begin to burn. Defiantly I keep them open, hold myself on a leash. Determine to commence a period of fine weather, this is my island after all, I’m obviously hanging on, unwilling to release it to the tides.

by Katharina J. Ferner

Eng. Translation: Jon Cho-Polizzi

The project was funded by a grant from the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg.

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