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From Nothing but Objects
After Rosmarie Waldrop
Sometimes I see a transparent profile, shadow-self with its thready tendrils turning to face the absence of a face framed by the window opposite. Selflessness is a complicated structure in that it doesn’t exist. The speaker ever-hovers just outside the door, listening. She went whichaway, grinding her teeth to shadow. Little spectre seethes uncontained by the glass. Sometimes when I see a window opposite, turning to face the space that doesn’t exist, just above the floor, that little white shadow framing the silence like it isn’t there, I notice. The whiteness is still there.

Or, there is no window box, only this planter shaped around the drain pipe. The fuchsia reduced to twigs and the dry rot of dirt shrinking away from the casing. Sometimes I look out the window and my eyes don’t fix anywhere. I am a state of non-seeing, what the window box might call “extended earth matter.” The density can get so thick in my right temple; there’s a waveform cresting against grey matter and then, hark little electric, we enter the last century with thanks to the cascade of Internet windows. What’s ripe for the twenties? My twenties, this hell. I make the local flora mine by ignoring them. This is why I forgot to water.

Mark your mountains of Jewelweed. Tender Snap Dragon bursts headlong. Outward August. The orange hold of imagined window box. Each pinking instance drags time. Evening hours stretch to deep grey. Each gossamer flourish a wonder. Tender peace is Butterfly Weed untouched. Excellent dusk primes separate sunsets. Each use of screened logic, far gone. Prime nature moves unfiltered. Watch the window. Embrace the worm. Bright outbursts try forth. Tell of sunset green. Such celestial inquiries shell the stars. Each Morning Glory concedes.

When I put on each shoe in the morning, am I hiding myself from the world, not unlike the California grizzly bear that walked into a book and disappeared? When the bee puts on pollen, does she remember Emily? Or is she in memory of me? Each garden star gathers close to the ground :: Each shadow a swimmer in motion. Myself to the world: disappear into shelves. How can we make the world unappear? The gaze in the mirror remains noticed. When I put on lipstick, what part of myself am I remembering?

The year provides no such newness. Instead, we get boxed in by cloud cover or warmed once we realize the room can curdle our milktoes. Carnations, canaries, a head and a window, an elbow, left foot. This is the order of memory. When stillness remembers, leaf-reason uncurls. We talk to the apple, the hammerhead worm, but slow-moving sand? What color! The stars! Transparence can shutter what lays at our feet.

The window is passive, like the open bowl of a shovel. Glass sags itself into a pear shape. We figure all glass is an hourglass, an open glass. Transparent means open, we reason, then we smack up against the form of the day. So many curled carcasses wait on the sill. Worms wait for the return. Memory cycles until it doesn’t. Until it becomes a straight-line, that vessel breaks form and decays. Stillness embraces the concave quiet. It must mean so little for silence to mean. Reason curls up next to the window, settles in a patch of sun. How does a star sound? Does the glass unfilter or magnify further? What poem can be open, transparent? Magnify, magnify again. Does a statement change when we put it in a frame? The window questions the light (or lack thereof), questions carcass, questions the star, the hemlock, the poem.

When we talk about stillness: forget the worm. Distance is a flat season. Time is a window that reflects the apple in its pane. Dark transparent ruby. The stars color time and query the leaf-like endless cycle. Light cycles through stillness and the worm keeps moving. One January I came across a clearing in the woods littered with deer parts. It must mean so little to breathe. How many moments re-lived just below memory’s small tract of earth. What worm does not remember itself and reform. The reformation of the worm is a hideous tract. Let the worm be! When we forget stillness: remember the worm.

An apple is so different than a window, though both architectures rattle up against the air. Stillness in only a matter of distance. The distance from the center of a seed magnifies with time: centrifugal focus brimming in green. What is now an apple was first a tree. What was first a worm is now time branching, arching, shooting in slow motion toward decay. “What good is a leaf?” the leaf asked. “What color are stars,” cried democracy. Some rough interior. The color of bursting. The color of late season. What is now a seed was once an apple: focus removed over centuries. “What good are the stars?” asked the leaf.

What is a window but slow-moving sand? A window can be like a poem. Come on in, the window’s fine. Come on in, this poem’s framed. From here, you see the highway that gets you to the city and on the other side is all residence. The city itself is surrounded by woods, the last stop before Amherst and Emily’s grave. And then Connecticut, which is nothing. You heard each window (is) the same. Every window is the same, you told me, but no two windows look (out) alike. Still only a matter of distance. In the case of corners of the house, the window’s sounds surround. Still, at sunrise no window is different from another. When the birds rest, yes, each direction a blank page waiting for the language of morning light.

Haze is as haze is. I have stared down both alleys. Greenpoint in Autumn’s summer. I have seen the city and found no rapture. What I mean to say is my feet are so dirty from walking barefoot in the tender moments. As I do as I do, so you do too, and the lone mud wasp is boring into the kitchen and the kitchen is boring unto me. The light rock takes but the rock light gives. Each hazed window is a tender moment. …

A raindrop pulls heavier than the moon bright faced still sound heavy a sound heavy over night sky and broken but not fully stopped. Think of the light brought, left in pieces the moon larger than not. Think of the bright void of sky slowly larger and not totally disassembled that thought quiet and yet too loud find it in the motion to be quiet the motion to be realized we take this for granted the size of light but know little of its meaning. Try for light try for size not over it the math of remembrance but the math of ought such a delicate science. Yet so easily forgotten and then some. Please love the quiet nothingness breaking through night, such light forgotten and yet relived. Mind the gap. A sound gap not realized in space the car drives slowly. The sound rises slowly. The woman yells softly, still audible. I respond and hope for unyielding silence. But that is not true. I am not the sounds of childhood escape it is not simultaneous. Stop and listen. Stop and feel. Or not or do and mark the end. This is a whole order each sight a step or the beginning. Forthright is a somber sound to be so light step I am a creature of circumstance.

The sound of November. The light of the twentieth. Its guttural cry. The way it breathes. Be free. Be alone. Feel the fall the autumn shake. Watch it rise. Watch it become nothing or nothing becomes something. Stop. Or breathe. Whichever bleeds the most. Hold tightly. I cannot insert name here. Be still. Ever moon. True change is in the sky. Such a large moon. Such refraction not realized. We watched the world end over time each year disappears slowly do we become one? Does each sunlight rend daylight rend days rend timeless? Please forget the endstop. Please forget the whole thing in pieces reach forward, or backwards. Find reaction. Find left or right or up or down. Be true. Findself. Each measured instance a step. Each step a start for measured instance. Don’t ignore the cause. Be free with the outcome. Try the walls, each become. Try the endstop energy to begin. Each moon a sonnet. Each light a discord bloom.

To test if we’re reaching, the rain pools heavy. It rests in the dip, we’re resting mid-dip, pooling our commas like moonfaces: ruddy, clouded. The tree outside the window stings witch-season, the branches exposed to the shock of the female. That’s everyday. Winter wind clouding our mooncheeks. Every straight line grows a circle underneath. Every which winter pulls heavy their layers. Each tidal pull sings gravity. Like, don’t you just want to lie down? Have a sleep? Not just the water, the winter, too, is moving.

The end of the winter’s an endstop. It yearns for the edges, we’re all yearning on edge, popping our limits like spring-loaded blades: ground down, glinting. The crows disagree just outside on the roof hip, their wings hang like small boys in mourning. Every day the winter wind sharpens their mooncheeks. Each path they cut leads them back to this perch. Each patch of roof-moss a cousin to the first. Every signal points north. Little carrion crow, what is the reason for your guttural grief? Nothing can tame these cold winter days.

A wagon rides heavier than a suitcase down cobblestone still sounds horse-hoofy sounds heavy sounds cloudthick climb-lumbering toward the sky. Think of the last time anyone told you the angle of the earth’s tilt. These pony sounds are one with that slope, their two-coconut calls echoing among the fluorescents. (What kind of a segment is fluor? It’s an essence, not totally intangible, but also not not in motion.) Or try to be quiet when you’re transporting children, their pealing a ping against the small bricks most common in Northern Europe. Try taking smaller steps, or try walking faster, try then forgetting the hour and breaking the quiet because this is your only life and your children found laughter. The echo gets softer, anyone who’s studied physics can hear the tinkles as distance and soon the sound gap not realized in space will be realized, and I can go back to sleep but for now I will listen like this is my only life and those were my children.

Darkness comes bearing. Window envelopes. Light cushion pushes lively.
Know exactly which telling becomes truth. Follow headlong.
Desert sucking which burns burns.
Too full.
    Breathe tell. Same ant step. Same garden foot. Same sensitive floating.
    Same walking of life, of delicacy, of permanent hedge.      Know one
                                     or the other.
Which weight waits with the tilt of the earth. What apocalypse song tunes polar-
-lines. Same sensitive vibration harps the atmospheric edge.        
Wrapped in the vast vacuum.

Laura Wetherington’s first book, A Map Predetermined and Chance (Fence), was selected by C. S. Giscombe for the National Poetry Series. She is the poetry editor for Baobab Press and currently teaches creative writing at Amsterdam University College and in SNC Tahoe’s low-residency MFA program.
Curtis Emery is a poet from Massachusetts. His work has been published in Elderly, Sierra Nevada ReviewReality Beach, and Infinite Scroll; and translated into German with the Berlin publication Kathedrale19, among others. His work also appears in Devouring the Green: Fear of a Human Planet, a cyborg/ecopoetry anthology from Jaded Ibis Press. Emery received his MFA from Sierra Nevada College.