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Photograph: Laird Hunt
I had taken the long way home, the really long way.
I traveled to the edge of the human continent. There, I couldn’t tell the difference between the insurgents and the Mennonites. The Shaker girls wore blue-evening-light dresses and danced in a circle speaking of the widow they had neglected. We went to the website of all acts of poetry, a huge screen at the very edge of the room, a bit basement, that seemed to grow little by little (would it overwhelm the scene?) when you pointed out to the dawn on the rightside horizon & my eyelashes made a shadow I could see. Will the screen engulf the world?
will the web?
was the widow their window?
what is an act of poetry?
Catching the light
with the side
of my eye.
the horse says neigh
the human says yeay
a grasshopper, you said
will never be sad.
That’s the first thing.
• • •
I bought something, it was
A fancy thing. The man called me madame and
Opened the door with a swish. I was sure I had never been
So happy to buy something, my
Feet felt happy even though
The thing was for my wrists.
• • •
I had taken the long way home through all the wrong towns. Through dusty streets to get my daughter, got lost trying to take the shortcut home. Along the way I overhear someone asking for me on the other side of a door from the other end of a phone. That’s me, I say, taking the receiver from a man with a muddyblond ponytail. It’s the last office on earth, shipping and receiving tiny mutations in the survival-vowel sounds. Ah, hoo. I do make it to school, where a Japanese lady buys me a tan-colored latex blow-up boob because mine “are really so uneven,” a state I’d never even noticed. O tiny things, like Delaware, and hours, turn us toward new states of thinking/being/doing. Anacreon says:
I won’t touch Amalthea’s horn (cornucopia).
I don’t want to live 150 years (like Tartessos’ king).
But totter through one tiny hour of wine-bred bliss, yes!
I would not wish to live anywhere, ever, where everybody’s always
Eleni Sikelianos is the author of two hybrid memoirs, The Book of Jon and You Animal Machine, and seven books of poetry, most recently The Loving Detail of the Living & the Dead. She teaches at the University of Denver.
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