Ben Stillerman | Palynomorphs I-V

Palynomorphs I-V

Palynology: the study of pollen, dust, and the microfossils of which they are composed. Forensic palynology adopts this method to aid criminal investigations.

Palynomorph I

 One layer

 of flour dust 
	between two 
of earth— 

entry into a mill, 
	which occurred before 
journey after journey
 on a wet road. 

		Evidence pooling, 
	present as a stain 
on a sole, 

a continuous friction. 
	wearing one 
		against other. 

° ° ° 

Those accumulations 
		specified by
	 neither dirt 
nor dust. 

The putrifiable greater portion of elements: 
digestive and conceivable 
alterations undertaken 
	all but unnoticed, leaving
no grain,
	 no primitive origin 
		no blood discernable from the snow.
Insect dead on 
	the road, fallen into dust, 
as we have said, 

as we have sought to enter into 
the composition of these bodies.


Palynomorph II

Content yourself, be 
separability from the origin,
 if not its full dissolution
	may there be hairs 
	of hop vines after a 
	forage in a field.
		Be the words, evidently sustained 
		before the mallet fell, 
		sightfallen on your collar’s
			sanguine and stain-akin 
			diagnosis: carrying
			 the thief to the theft. 

° ° ° 

a head well- 
	covered with hair 
           covered in rust 
	copper filings 
	(among the metallurgical) 
a beard similar
		 (when occasion offers)
a receptacle 	
	if first you dry it 
                  by evaporation
a brow furnishing 
                 siliceous character, 
	another, saltpeter and carbon.


  there are 
to be found 
  grains of powder 
incrusted in the eyelids
—the way I prefer to tell you the truth


Palynomorph III

	You spend your day in the sand 
pit with a blade sharpened on 

a half-finger enveloped in 
glove blood-cement 

(down through the roof, 
broken box tobacco) 

abundance in 
cells knotted 
under the ultra-violet. 

° ° ° 

canal debris 
(carbonaceous dust) 
 discovered a year 
        after you ceased 
            all contact with coal,
                the common wisdom 
	of imprint preserved 
	and labor left behind, 

			 looming and facing 
			        the recent fact of this crime 

Palynomorph IV

i. perform with 
an ear-spoon to extract, 
twin glass plates to flatten,

 the cerumen substance 
is no obstacle 
to the action 
of reagents dying 
to achieve a 
knowable residue 

ii. perform with 
a fine tip to calcine 
this vital mass over 
a concentration of 
limp heat 

iii. perform with 
nitric acid (pure 
fuming) and 
sodium bicarbonate

 a scalpel massage evens 
the salt throughout the mass 
and deposit: 
knowing the strength 
of your water, 
knowing each
 bubble detaching 
itself from the mass 
carries with it
 a particle of wax


Palynomorph V

			terry cloth bearing grease, 
			folded under one invalidating 
			distribution (of bloodspots) 
			recollected only in the vessels: 

				argillaceous wool fibers 
				whether we fix this 
				identity of bodies or 
				affix guilt to the accused. 

			silk filament through an 
			almost failing pigment 
			(infinitesimal, a recording) 
			left to distinguish human 

			         from animal bony substance 
			        (even in minute) fragments 
			        by cavities pointed and gone 
			         back into their woods


Ben Stillerman is a PhD student in the Department of Psychology at NYU. His scientific contributions have been published in Developmental Psychology, PLOS ONE, various conference proceedings, and are forthcoming in The Handbook of Process Tracing Methods.