Kimberly Ann Priest

At the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University

Unbuilt Residencies
lightweight wood / plaster / papier-mâché / concrete

Katrín Sigurdardóttir has unbuilt a neighborhood of homes—
transportable and set upon a platform

to be unenclosed, unadorned, unseen from the inside: glass-
less windows and torn open sides, gorgeous rafter to plaster,

bone to bone, their injuries not inflicted externally
but as part of their integrity—and where the skin is cut, edges

made raw by faux exposure to wind, rain, heat,
and below zero temperatures. Maybe indifference, predation,

ego, and grief. Four years ago, I shed my home,
left its deadness behind and slept, like a mollusk, in my Jeep

several nights, driving toward nothing in particular
but what I hoped would be a new definition of place. Home-

lessness is frightening, but not nearly as much
as the constant upkeep of spaces that do not define your soul-life.

My body was tired of the walls my husband sustained for us,
so I let the elements have me. Mollusk is derived from the Latin word

mollis—it means soft. To love a home is to let it evolve
like a body, to participate, to ask it what it wants to be. Kneeling

to the height of these pained structures I search
their shells for signs of ambulant life, hear only the animal silence.

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress Publications 2021) as well as chapbooks Still Life (PANK 2020), Parrot Flower (Glass 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (FLP 2018). Winner of the 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize in the New Poetry from the Midwest anthology by New American Press, she is currently an Assistant Professor of First-Year Writing at Michigan State University, an associate editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and a reader for Embody at The Maine Review. Find more of her work at

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