We woke to the sickly sweet of sweaty Boston August,
the smell of men’s rums and our water ices. We wanted
dawdling days at the new Park, tonguing a wistful treat.
Mrs Smith at the corner said first it sounded like
a cannon, then felt like Back Bay was slipping down
into the river. The molasses flowed away from the Charles,
almost up to our house on Charter Street. For days
we were bees stuck in honey. For days, we found the bodies,
ants in amber resin. They sunk into the gum and the stone
snuck into the lungs, glazing and taking them for its own.
Que yo sea ultrajado y aniquilado, pero que en un instante, en un ser, Tu enorme Biblioteca se justifique.
- Jorge Luis Borges, “La biblioteca de Babel”
The blind poet from Buenos Aires lifted his eyes
to the night sky
in Buenos Aires and saw
etched in voluminous nebules the lush
castillo of Limbo, and within
its cavernous holds
his beloved Library.
by Uyi Agho ’11
I have been intrigued by the physician whom I have watched lately,
fascinated by his gradual dissimilarity from all other mortals who perceive me
as someone I am not. He will eagerly pick up the knife and cut into the flesh
of the chest of men, he knows the deep grooves of the brain,
the pipelines of blood and their source. So what if he found in me something
intangible where my heart should be? I wonder if he would flinch.
Would he be wiser than his brethren when he looks upon this form-
the subject of many temporary arts they call by trifling appellations-
divine iconography, windows stained with erroneous images of an heir
in my likeness. These trifles are but relics of a race who raise their existence
beyond its actual worth, worms miniscule and parasitic whose establishments
will vanish before the dust of their bones has settled.
What would they say if the head on which they placed a golden crown
dripped with miasmal tresses, deep and rich in a color they cannot name?
I have an expression they have never seen and will only see upon the bed of death.
Were I to walk among them, their faces would contort in horror at the sight
of the one who has led them by whatever means to their ends.
And I will laugh as I have laughed many times at those who have called.
Why then, you ask, do I dangle dreams before this physician
and watch him play? Why, I inquire, does he challenge me
by refusing to accept the limits of human beings and the finality of death?
I have placed before his eyes nightmares of the worst kind and he rises inspired,
I have set his wife just beyond his reach and he stretches for her more.
I have sent him plummeting toward death and yet he finds footholds.
I am not all bad, I will not deny the man who seeks answers of the unknown.
I will visit him then. Since he calls so adamantly I will go.
Standing in line behind, you know, a man and a woman at a coffee shop, you’ll note that the pauses in the rhythm of conversation have a kind of shape wherein tacit responses respond to tacit responses and the silence of the woman formulates an answer to the question posed by the silence of the man. All silently. It’s like, you know, listening to one half of a phone conversation and understanding, somehow, what’s being said on the other end of the line, this art of listening to the conversation that a conversation has with the conversation, at a kind of higher pitch, or on another plane, or something. You know. Like one person says something and you can hear an innate response kind of happening, just rising up, in the other, and then you can hear her refining it and whittling away at it and sometimes discarding it entirely and then you hear, you know, at a separate volume and in a separate key, her actual words, distinct from the initial artifact of her thoughts by varying degrees, depending. You know, like the conversation has bones and this entire anatomy and all you can see is the outside of it but the rest of is what gives it a structure. Like I said, silence has a shape. You know. Listening, you hear.
There’s only so much pseudo-concern I’m willing to affect in order to get you to keep sleeping with me because it’s not like I’m going to, I don’t know, marry you or something, the most I can do is make this face which suggests but does not promise (please note, does not in any way formally promise) engagement and concern about this shit, the shit you complain about endlessly, and it’s mostly just because where can you find a girl you can tell what you really want to do to her, nowhere, it’s only the really crazy ones who go on for hours on end about this shit, about their being and das sein or whatever, which they think is different from their capital B being, which must be some weird German thing because I’ve heard they capitalize all their nouns, but anyway it’s only the really crazy ones and I mean the really crazy weepy needy five-emails-in-a-row demanding endless affirmation ones who will let you, you know, do what you really want and my god what is problemetization, is that even a word, I just want to tie you up and gag you, I didn’t ask for your whole existential history.
Did you not answer the email because you didn’t want to answer the email? Or because you were planning to and you have some lengthy profession of love saved in your drafts that you’re going to send me but not until you’ve got it just right? And what about the email about why you didn’t answer the email? The meta-email. I bet you just don’t check your email, that’s what I bet. I bet you just don’t check your email.
And my gosh the emails. You think that when I didn’t respond to first the email about whatever, her insecurities re the formulation of stable identity and how she thinks of herself as taking different elemental stages or something, you think she’d have taken this as a sign of my total disinterest, but then no, she doesn’t, she just kind of keeps trying and talking at you, she’s so desperate for someone to talk to. It’s a lot to put up with but I’m telling you, broaching the subject of bondage is awkward at best and restraint-order-inciting at worst and don’t even try it with the kind of girl you’d want to listen to talk because they aren’t near crazy enough to say yes. So it’s worth it, I guess, to try and look engaged. Looks good in that top too. It’s not impossible to pay attention, all things considered.
You must not check your email. Because I’m telling you this to gage your response, and you’re listening, you’re really listening, sitting forward like that with your eyes widened and your entire face so open, and you care, you have to care or you’d interrupt me or tell me to stop or something, you wouldn’t just let me bare my soul to you like this, and tell you how I feel like I expand and contract in different company. Like the earth responding to heat or cold. I change to adapt to environment and to fill the space, the way a gas fills the space, seeping into every available corner. With you, that is, I fill the space. And with everyone else I retract. Just sort of cave in. So you must not check your email.
I hope there is nothing between my teeth. Strange protrusion, there, between the tooth three down from the center two teeth and the tooth four down from the center two teeth, to the left. Possible remnants of turkey sandwich. Maybe that weird white residue that’s only noticeable in really close-contact situations. I’ll keep mouth-opening to a minimum, where possible. I think I’m expected to smile though. Close-lipped smiling just feels strange, like your teeth are visible through your lip, or something. And he’ll wonder why I’m smiling with my mouth closed. He’ll probably assume I have some kind of dental deformity. What if I just sort of wriggle my tongue over the offending area. When he’s not looking. Now, when he’s sort of playing with his napkin. Have I opened my mouth in a tooth-bearing fashion already? Maybe the bathroom? But I hate to associate myself with the scatological this early on in the relationship. It’s a well-known fact that girls don’t poop. Maybe if I swallow really hard, I mean really hard, the sheer force of it will act as some kind of gravitational wormhole or something and suck all particulate matter down my throat. Maybe.
Ich bin, du bist, er ist. I am actively not listening to you. Wir sind, ihr seid, sie sind. I am reciting German irregular verbs in my head. That is how little I am listening to you.
we are doing you a FAVOR young lady by bringing you up and you are LAZY that is what you are and we don’t have to pay for ANY OF IT young lady and we don’t have to let you live in this house we do that out of the KINDNESS OF OUR HEARTS young lady and when have you ever brought in any income hm you interrupt me at work every day calling me asking for something because you can’t PLAN AHEAD and you are lucky young lady that i am able to contain this because next time i won’t i’ll tell you just what i think of you i’ll tell you how difficult it’s been to raise you and how we can’t wait to have you out of the house and how sick i am of your INGRATITUDE
Ich entkomme, du entkommst, es entkommt. I am still not listening to you. I will not listen to you. Ich entkomme.
I think you do look fat in that dress, and your new hair cut isn’t doing anything for your mildly but definitively asymmetrical facial features, let me tell you.
Real life conversations are difficult because I’ve been staring at you from across the top of my cubicle for months now, just watching you answer the phone or whatever and play with your necklace and put it in your mouth as you talk, and twist your ring on and off your finger, and absently click the kind of pens that click. And now I don’t have Wikipedia at my disposal for the purposes of seeming erudite and knowledgeable and I’m not really sure how well I can fake it because I don’t remember too much about Schrödinger’s Equation. I had a pet cat as a kid though. Shit.
Maybe the whole “subjecting him to the Schrödinger’s Equation conversation needlessly” thing is a bit cruel. Maybe I should just tell him I have a boyfriend, spare him the discomfort. But no, this is too good.
Fuck. The cat was named Allan. No idea why. My older sister named it and my mom was near deathly allergic and had these tectonic coughing fits whenever it came near her. But I don’t really think that’s related. Is Schrödinger’s Equation even the same as Schrödinger’s Cat? Is Schrödinger spelled with an umlaut? Given my total ignorance regarding German (?) physicists (?), maybe I should just change the subject. Admit to not knowing. Say something seemingly brilliantly equivocal. Reference something else. Or just ask her to get a coffee. Maybe that.
Discomfort reaching maximum levels. Better extricate myself from this situation before he actually makes an advance and I’m forced to reveal that I’m just kind of sadistic. Also, Schrödinger is Austrian. Not German at all.
Just say it: Isupergluedhertothechair. Not like that. Not quickly, the way you just thought it. Say it, articulate it. I am very sorry, Mr. Miller. I apologize. I am responsible for The Super-gluing Incident. Or say this, this sounds good: Mr. Miller, I think I know what happened. I saw some men with black masks on coming in the window during recess. Carrying guns. And superglue. I thought this information might be relevant. No. That’s unrealistic. Just come out, say it. What can they do to you? I feel bad. I do. It just seemed like the kind of thing you have to do once in your life, super-gluing someone to a chair.
My cousin and her boyfriend used to make mashed potatoes every year at Thanksgiving when I was a kid—just like we’re doing right now—and I would sit nearby, doing something useless which I believed to be immeasurably useful, like cutting carrots into incrementally smaller and smaller pieces, and I would watch them forget that I was in the room and forget that the room existed altogether and forget that the house existed, and it was other-worldly the way that they seemed so completely still even when the rest of the house was moving and people came and went making pies or getting glasses and it was like water moving over rock, the people moving around them. And no one ever got between them, ever. No one so much as walked between them. And I wonder if you know how much it means to me, this ritual of preparing mashed potatoes together. We used to have Thanksgiving at my uncle’s farmhouse, which was cold and the air was thin and often it would snow, and not light November snow but snow that cemented the doors closed. Or maybe it grows deeper in my memory, the snow. The kitchen had an old stove and my cousin and her boyfriend sat in front of it peeling potatoes and glowing with the light of reflected fire and they seemed old and strange and completely at ease with each other in a way I hadn’t ever conceptualized. They made horrible mashed potatoes. But still. They did what we’re doing right now, all those years ago, engaged in a sort of wordless conversation. And now you. Kind of glowing that same way even though there is no fire. With your perfect nose and the freckle on your thumb. Peeling potatoes. And I wonder if you know how much it means. I wonder if would be alright to tell you, maybe.
Otto sculled down the river, his rhythmic stroking pattern bearing him across the surface of the water. Like a bird soaring seamlessly through the air, Otto’s dolphin cut into the river; every time his oars slid into the water they made ripples that permeated the body of the river, creeping along the face of the water and becoming waves upon waves, eternally.
At three o’ clock Otto ended up at the boat house where a huge crowd gathered around the television in the lobby, peering over his uncle’s shoulders.
Otto got out of the dolphin, unlocked the oars, and sat them on the dock. “Can I get some help here?” He asked, turning around. He everyone in the boat house was mesmerized by the program on the television, and ignored him. “Uncle Dave!” he hollered, and the man looked up, in a daze. He nudged his way out of the crowd and helped his nephew take the boat out of the river. Otto asked him what happened.
“You’re not going to believe it,” David said.
“Jack Bailey died last night.”
Otto stopped walking. Jack Bailey? Dead? “You were right—I don’t believe it,” Otto managed to reply. “When did they find out?”
“This morning,” David told him, as they placed the dolphin on the rack.
“But he broke the world record two days ago!”
“That’s what I said. But I guess that doesn’t make you immortal.”
A couple people in the crowd hissed at Otto and his uncle. They sheepishly went over and joined them in watching the newsflash. It featured parts of Jack Bailey’s life: growing up as a boy, he was a prodigy in sculling and crew. As a man, he was a business owner, a world-record breaker, a legend.
When the documentary ended Otto walked over to the boat racks, where the singles were kept. His eyes fell immediately on Jack Bailey’s single, which was a vibrant red with a clean white stripe down both sides. Otto reached out with his hands to touch the single. His fingers shivered. He was touching Jack Bailey’s single. The same single he sculled in on the day he broke the record. Otto pried his fingers off the boat. He didn’t know why he was so excited. This wasn’t the first time he’d touched Jack Bailey’s single.
He remembered the night vividly. It was humid. Sitting on the dock of the boat house, he could see the sunset ebbing into the horizon, and the stars scattered across the sky. He tried finding constellations–Big Dipper, Little Dipper. Orion’s Belt. He couldn’t remember any others. He tried using his imagination to make some up, like drawing lines in connect-the-dots. There weren’t a lot of stars out tonight to draw with.
Jack Bailey slid his single beside the dock. In the moonlight, Otto could see Jack Bailey’s features as clear as day. The thick white mustache, the hair graying at the temples. The shoulders that could carry a horse down the fastest running river. The legs, lean and bulging with strength.
“Well, boy?” Jack Bailey called, holding onto his single as he stepped onto the dock. “Help me get her out,” Jack Bailey said. Otto leapt onto his feet and ran over to Jack Bailey. He and Jack Bailey took the single by the handles. They heaved the single onto their shoulders. Otto touched the stomach of the single, sliding his fingers back and forth like a pious, reverent child easing the beads of a rosary through his hands.
At a quarter to six, there were only eleven people left in the lobby of the boat house, lounging comfortably. Otto sat on the carpet and rested his back against the leg of the sofa, which he liked because he could see beyond the storage bay for the boats and look at the dock and the river. Normally when he sat like that he would imagine getting into a boat. In his imagination, he would scull out into the dimming light of sunset. This time, as he imagined going out onto the river and sculling, he saw himself in Jack Bailey’s single. There was completeness, an assured feeling of rightness somewhere inside of him as he imagined it. He sighed with longing.
“Jesus, he was a good man,” David burst out suddenly. He sat on the couch, near Otto.
“One helluva businessman,” one man said.
“I’m sorry?” Otto’s uncle asked.
“Come no one wants to talk about ‘business’. The man was found dead just this morning. Give everyone time to breathe.”
“I don’t think anything’s wrong with–” he paused. Collected himself. “The man’s left a legacy, a legacy. Can’t blame me for thinking about that. I worked with him for twenty-five years, I should be able to say something about it.”
Otto watched the man get up from his chair, who scratched his head. “It’d be a helluva waste, a helluva waste,” he murmured to himself. He breathed deeply. He stretched his hand out like an artist preparing to paint a picture on a gigantic canvas. He dipped his tongue into his palette of words and began to paint against the silence of the room.
“You walk into Bailey’s Sporting Goods…right in the boating section, you see it. Jack Bailey’s single.” Eugene paused, admiring his work. He continued. “The boat that broke the world record: ‘The Red Osprey’. It looks down at you, glistening–” then, with one sweeping stroke of the tongue “–it’s like it has a life of its own.”
The people in the lounge admired the man’s work. But then Otto’s uncle laughed. “So you want it up there, like a relic?” David asked.
The man shook his head furiously. “Not a relic!” The word made his face twist with disgust. “Remove that from your vocabulary, Dave. Snatch it, snatch it and spit it out!” Otto’s uncle quieted down, although he couldn’t help but snigger intermittently at the man’s sudden nakedness.
“Then what would you call it?” Otto asked. He was surprised that he had spoken up among all these adults. The people in the lounged looked at Otto in sympathy, and then looked at the man. He thought about it for a while.
“A treasure. A bona fide treasure,” he said.
“A treasure!” David cried, bursting into laughter.
The man sat down, his cheeks red with embarrassment as the chair rustled beneath him. Otto returned to looking at the river. He closed his eyes and thought back to the humid evening when he’d touched the single.
“What’s your favorite bird, boy?” Jack Bailey had asked, while he and Otto sat on the dock together.
“I dunno, Mr. Bailey. What’s yours?”
“Oh,” Otto said.
“Why the osprey?”
Jack Bailey gave it a moment or two. “When I was a kid, I lived in a house by the lake. On the shore my father and I put up a pole. On that pole, every day at five o’ clock in the morning, an osprey would come and perch on it.”
Otto hung onto every morsel of Jack Bailey’s words.
“It would call: whew, whew. Or, a sharp cheeap, cheeap. Whenever I got up it was because of that bird. I’d get up out of bed and get out on my boat, and scull up and down the lake until I had to go to school. Then, when I got back from crew practice, I’d get back into my boat and watch the osprey—my osprey—preen its feathers, fly around the lake, making its calls.
Lots of times I saw it eat the fish in the lake. I would see it circling in the air, high, about eighty feet, and then swoop down and catch a fish with its sharp talons. There were lots of fish, so the thought never came to me that the osprey would go away.” “Did it?” Otto asked.
Jack Bailey nodded. “Lots of times.” He chuckled. “But the first time it happened I was scared it’d never come back. My mother (she was an ornithologist, you know) told me that they were common mostly in California, Florida and pretty much everywhere on the globe except New England. So I guess I should have felt pretty great that I had such a rare bird around.”
Otto and Jack Bailey let quiet sit between them for a little while. “But the bird would come back, right?” Otto asked him, suddenly. Jack Bailey grinned.“Yep. That would make my week. I could have the lousiest week a boy could have had, and if that osprey was there, I’d be great. If I had a great week, the osprey just made it better.” Now Otto was eager to see the bird. “Where is it now?”
The humor in Jack Bailey’s face left. He stared at Otto, and the boy could see that Jack Bailey was weighing whether or not to answer.
“As usual I woke up to the osprey’s call. I didn’t think the day would be any different. But when I got out of bed, I heard a pounding bang. I knew it was a gunshot, because of the way the bang tore at the air. Then, there was the screech, and right away I looked out the window. There I saw the osprey dead on the grass by the lake, floating in a pond of dark red blood.
“I ran outside and so did my parents. Sometimes I think about how I must have looked picking that bird up in my arms, my pajamas soaked with blood. If I’d known how much trouble ospreys make for fishermen, I wouldn’t have reacted so badly. I don’t blame the guy who shot my osprey. He had to do it.” Jack Bailey coughed.
“Everyday, without fail, I wake up at five o’clock in the morning, and hear that osprey.” Jack Bailey said those words as if he were amazed at himself. “Whew, whew, cheeap, cheeap. Every day, without fail.”
Jack Bailey’s eyes glazed solemnly. Otto looked at him for a while, and then at the single he and Jack Bailey had put on the rack. After that, Otto returned to looking at the stars. He watched them sparkle, and remembered from class that those stars were dead, but the light was just arriving to earth. The thought filled Otto’s imagination and was stirred in with Jack Bailey’s osprey the basin of his mind.
Otto looked at the clock on the wall. Six-fifteen. He set his watch to it, and made sure it was just right.
“I think there’s a better use for the boat,” a woman said. When Otto looked around the couch to her, he could see the woman biting her nails in thought. “It’s just a guess.”
Her figure shifted; she adjusted her shirt and crossed her legs. She dressed like she always did when she came to the boathouse: a bright-colored shirt, bright tennis shoes, mute-colored pants. Otto watched her carefully, up and down, up and down. She was very beautiful. Otto’s throat suddenly felt dry.
Otto remembered the sheer joy on the woman’s face and the great excitement showing all over her body the day that Jack Bailey won the world record. Otto remembered the way she went over to Jack Bailey that day, how she strode down to the dock and embraced him like a flower embracing a bee, and how Jack Bailey grinned a big grin and kissed her on the mouth.
The lips that had kissed Jack Bailey moved. “We could give it to charity,” she said. “I think Jack would have wanted that.”
David leaned forward. “Are you saying that because you can’t have it for yourself?” He asked the woman, who sat across from him. Otto could see humor twinkling in David’s eyes.
“Oh, no,” she said. “If I got that thing I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I would probably hang it up on a wall or something too.” David’s chuckle betrayed his humor. “But wouldn’t it be nice to have it? The Red Osprey. Jack Bailey’s single. All yours. It’d make a pretty good conversation piece.” She shrugged.
“I suppose. But…God, I’d rather have him instead of that rusty boat. What’s a girl going to do with a boat, anyway? She can’t talk to it, can’t hold it, can’t kiss it. It’s just a boat–a rusty old boat.” A glossy film covered her eyes. They welled with water and gentle brooks streamed down her cheeks. The woman wiped her eyes with her fingers and took a tissue from the table.
David reclined into the couch, and Otto saw bewilderment splattered across his uncle’s face. “We’ll just have to wait for the will, Hannah,” someone in the group said to the woman. “He had to have left you something. He loved you.”
“He better have left us something,” David exclaimed, trying to cheer her up. “We let him use this place free of charge!” The people in the lounge laughed aloud. Even Hannah, whose eyes were red and puffy, managed to smile a little. Otto smiled too and looked at the river. He could see himself sitting with Jack Bailey on the dock.
“So, what’s your favorite bird? You haven’t told me yet, boy.” Jack Bailey asked him.
“I don’t know anything about birds, sir.”
“Do they have wings?”
“Do they have beaks?”
“Can they fly?”
Otto remembered a lesson he had in class. “Well, an ostrich can’t fly, but it’s still a bird.” Jack Bailey shook his head. “Alright, as long as it isn’t an ostrich.”
“But I like the ostrich,” Otto objected.
“Alright, fine. So your favorite bird’s the ostrich.”
“No, I want to change it. I want it to be a falcon.”
Jack Bailey chuckled. “Are you sure?”
Otto looked suspiciously at Jack Bailey. “I changed my mind. I like the ostrich better.”
“Ostrich it is.” The way Jack Bailey said it made it sound official. Jack Bailey patted Otto’s head. “Ostrich it is.”
Otto looked at his watch and saw that it was seven o’clock. By now the people in the lounge were beginning to leave. Only Otto and his uncle were left. Otto was told to double-check the inventory of oars and boats in the storage bay. He made sure each and every wherry, aero, dolphin and single were in their desired place. All boats were present and accounted for–including Jack Bailey’s single.
Otto put down the clipboard he used for inventory and approached Jack Bailey’s single. He let his fingers slide up and down its stomach. Near the single’s stern, he could feel scratches—scratches too deep to be accidental. Otto stood on the tip of his toes so he could see.
—————————————–“For Otto, the Ostrich.”
“Uncle Dave!” Otto cried.
When his uncle arrived Otto showed them the engraving. Otto’s uncle David tugged at the air as if he was pulling a train whistle and hollered. They saw, and believed.
Without a word, Uncle David helped Otto take the single down to the river. As Otto waited in the water his uncle went back to get the oars. Otto locked the oars in and took a deep breath.
He pushed against the dock, and the single glided along the face of the water. When far enough into the river, he began his stroke.
Went down the river until his legs and arms and back got tired. When he couldn’t go anymore, he stopped. The water carried the boat along, and it slowly came to a stop.
Otto stared up at the stars, and this time he could see an entire galaxy’s worth. He connected the glittery dots, sketching and drawing shape after shape, until they became real, astral paintings, celestial masterpieces.
He drew Jack Bailey in the stars, the Jack Bailey that he knew and loved. He drew him looking down, watching the boy in his single.
Somehow Otto could see countless faces of people smiling ear to ear, causing an overwhelming joy to rise in him. He was raptured upwards with the boat, and he could see himself rowed across the black water of the sky. The stars waded in the rippling waves left by Otto’s single.
It was his now. The whole universe was his. He belonged now to the universe: there, living, breathing, rowing. Sleeping.
Otto sat up, his head swimming. From the look of it, it was morning. He glanced at his watch.
Otto yawned and stretched. He sculled back to the boat house, where an entire world was waiting.
Why is nowhere decent
open for food before ten,
and is everywhere closed
on Sundays, boarded up
against the heat that sneaks up
my winding staircase, smoke-like;
creeps up into my library,
under the space beneath my door,
then spinning in the slits of my white window fan—
eight appendages, four eyelids, heat
in the sheets where we stick,
are stuck sticking again, stuck together,
bound with nowhere else to go.
So, we stay, continue to search
for an open place on the web, any place
we could be, a place other than here.
On a whim I let you take me
to a nearby museum crawling
with insects, pegged arthropods
behind glass panes, needled legs
that were an exhibit, storied stairs
that were a piano. Orange stickers
admitted us. Imagine this:
a screen that showed our bodies’ heat.
And how we tried to preserve each other
alive inside those translucent bubbles
shining like cellophane wrap
on expensive books. You wrote the rules—
you picked me up, checked me out
before you took me home. I hurried
upstairs. I am a child for you, a child
who I never would have agreed to be.
I could not forget to save us, to stick
my ticket against my mirrored vanity.
Remember my blue dress,
my spine against the wall,
your educated hands
in, over, between it all.
Remember messing your hands in it all.
How could you be interpreting me—
you, blind to our literate physicality,
me, enraptured by this novelty
of language, bottled fantasy,
I was a new story that you wanted
to skim through, then flip back again.
Go on: crack me
a wonder how fresh sheets feel.
Carry me down whenever
you are in the right mood.
Pause at all the good parts.
I always have been afraid of spiders.
I dreamt that my stuffed bear was webbed
to the foot of my bunk bed, and a spider
carried him down on its beetled back,
down the ladder, down to the ground,
scuttled across the dirt wood floor,
opened the door to somewhere different.
Alone, I wondered
had that spider taken me.
Sure, I imagine there is something wrong with me:
I imagine many things are wrong with me,
for me, about me, in me, as if I’d pressed us in a children’s book.
But I imagine that all of us should want to want to be wanted.
We all must want to survive, to be given to our own web,
suspended in linguistic throws, our poisoned hearts.
Strange, how simple, to be bound apart.