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April 18, 2019
A Selected Text from Conjunctions:72, Nocturnals
The first time I crossed the equator, I stopped for a photo. People usually do. I had come to work in a small clinic in a coffee-farming village in southwestern Uganda, just to the south of the world’s belt. I grew up in the midlatitudes: long summer days and long winter nights, the swing of light and dark like a rocking hammock. I thought of the equator as a human idea—a line on a spinning globe. Its tyranny was a shock.
April 16, 2019
In the first dream, the dog is disguised as a cat.

In the second dream, when I pet him, the dog turns into chocolate.

In the third dream, the dog is a ball of dirty yarn which I scoop up
and lay over my chest to muffle the sound of my rapidly beating heart.
April 2, 2019
Jing Street, where I live, is a long, narrow street with many coffee shops and teahouses. Sitting in my third-floor study, I can see inside the “Island” coffee shop across the street. This small shop does a good business; it’s almost always packed. I frequent this shop, too. I secretly call Hoh Dao, its owner, “Mr. Perfect.”
March 26, 2019
Keller,

We don’t know each other. Not well. I’ve seen you in your rental body, standing at the windows beyond the cubicles, looking out at the wheat fields. I’ve seen you in the fifth-floor steams. We sat so close that my breath mixed with yours in the wet air. In the lap pool, too, the waves that rippled from my breaststroke rippled over your skin.
March 19, 2019
Do this in memory of my mother

and of my mother’s mother

Here is this lacquered box (Fig. 100.5)           inlaid

with their blood
March 12, 2019
after collapsing at the plaza fountain in Turin Nietzsche gave up
coherent speech and stayed alive somewhere else for almost twelve years
his unmapped terrain resembled a canvas painted black in successive
luminous opacities of backlit abyss, if he turned on a television
this is what he saw, if he closed his eyes, if he looked out the window
again unshielded night
March 5, 2019
For once they all agreed, it would be the concert of the season, the return of the prodigy son. The Jerusalem music scene was in heat—survivors, empty seat fillers, remnants planted on their subscriptions, but from the neck up, in brainpans that went on ticking, still the strictest standards, the highest expectations.
February 26, 2019
Winter was like my house: I showed

myself—human, bare but for my clothing,
and the blood boiling, the geranium,

and other gifts. Bare but for the objects
that claimed me.
February 19, 2019
My mother cracked each day open like a gutted fish.
Her hours, a tarp draped over a stranger’s head.
The way grief works:

a mirror the chemical
that ruins the body,
a window, a small blue prayer
gone missing.
February 12, 2019
(I want nothing short of not being brief. It’s a peccadillo. Chickens take longer
Than they did. If I wasn’t kind today, it’s because I am feeling out of sorties like a movie
That ends before anything gets said that might resolve the question
Of why anyone would spend time making or watching a movie, or a bed.
February 5, 2019
I was beginning to sense a pattern. Not that I knew what the pattern was, just that one was coming into view. It had something to do with the babysitter. I didn’t hire her, and refuse to be blamed. Sharon hired the babysitter; I spotted the pattern.
January 29, 2019
“I had a problem for you, and you didn’t solve it.” “It was imaginary.” “Not all that appears reappears. It may be only once that you glimpse Pythagoras.” “Did you say Pythagoras?” “Might could be, apparently so.” “Was your problem related to math?” “Of an existential dimension.” “That’s the sort that interested me before my career set in.”
January 22, 2019
The clatter of rain has a personal meaning.
This is the time to meditate or write down your dreams.
But the lover can do neither, can only wander
From room to room trying not to spill what’s so precious.
January 15, 2019
Outside the stars were fading and the sky was slowly rosying at the edges when we found the skeleton. At first it was visible only as a clutch of white daggers, thickly clotted with spiderwebs, compressed between the plaster wall and the heavy wooden timbers. I don’t know what I expected it to be.
January 8, 2019
On the bus, we were told to remember everything, to testify, testify, testify. We’d heard this many times before. Remember and testify, they would say, in order that this or that bad thing does not happen again. I harbored no such faith in remembering. Nor in testimony. I fail to believe in them still.
January 1, 2019
Someone shouted at me to grab a blanket or a coat or something for crissakes, the narrator of The Bystander says, and wrap your old man up, because after assaulting the woman the narrator’s father liked best, and after running out with nothing on but the soap from the bath he’d been taking with her, the narrator’s father is standing on the street, shouting imprecations at her,
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2018 American Book Award–winning author Valeria Luiselli reads from her work
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Campus Center, Weis Cinema