CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Two Poems
Seth Abramson



     DUTIES OF WASTE ALSO

     Or he attracts the devil he reflects, on all fours
     like a pig to feed, and it moves against him
                 in the singular chord
     of its obedience,
                 or he walks the same tune
     as his religion, and the god he calls everywhere
     like a dog by whistle
     sits down with him. Or he goes into the towns
     and is seen by people and is needed for things
                           people need
     from the people they know.
                 Or he escapes into a world made large
     by some eccentricities
     he has, and goes into the cities to entertain them
                 like a vanishing card
     in the decks men have when they have nothing.
     Or he is tied to an awful face
     in a street market, is staked to a market to atone
                 for the mince of markets,
     or he goes to the market to purchase some mud
                 to make things from mud,
     and sees himself
     at the stall with a hand deep in some pocketful,
     pausing for that pleasure. Or a magic is pulled
                from his throat
     and he paupers it the same way the same men
     will do him
     before it ends. Or eagerly, massively, in a chord
     of obedience it ends,
     the decision made and a judgment held over him
                 like a blown halo
     by the devil he reflects. Or the devil repatriates
                 his throat with winsome murk
     and the only word
     others mean to hear, and makes a face from him
     to breathe
                 among faces. If I am not to be beautiful,
                 then this.



     GOD [SIC]

     Never trust a book with maps
                 was what I once heard,
     & too true—     but
     by then I had already converted
     to the religion of history. God
     we believed in earnest

     wore those clothes the histories
     expected him to wear, & in this
                 was positively historical—
     even his hat was fundamental.
     He’d brought
                 a new world to bear

     by way of assurance he could do
     better than the last one,
     which water-logged at ten eons.
     This time there would be land
     as well as sea, & so the necessity
     of cartography. He saw the maps,
                 & they were good
     but not great, but the fairytales
                 the maps necessitated
     (in the margins of course)
     captured something illuminating.
     Even the goblins’ hats were

     fundamental. Never trust a god
     who understands your situation,
     I was told, & that was true also:

     I never found myself any better
                 at prognostication
     just because I knew the story of
     my god—
     & it seemed, too, as though all
     the fairytales ended
                             with a slaughter.