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Everyone and Her Resemblances
She glides along the top of glass

desk-hungry, unable to stand

You place a dried fig in front of her

She is barely two-dimensional

Cut open an apple. She has no hands

Dismembered flesh perfumes my mouth

Pale silk, disfigured softness

She stands there saying nothing while I eat

I try to feed her. She commands a still life

Only now do I see she requires seeds

Resembling small brown polished

receptacles for further instructions

Before this began she chose music, “Ein Wolf I’m Schafspelz”

She took charge of my imaginary presence

Which of the women is she?

She is the one who refuses to say

Yet at the same time she has arranged all of your senses

You may enter but do not disarrange or remove her veils

Lift them just enough to crawl under

center of flower, eye of needle, inner crown

If you’ve met previously you will not remember

You have no idea where her mind is

Pale instruments of your sight are no good here

You’d forgotten that change is rarely accommodation

In her presence you own a different form on the page

Her skin is bare beneath her obvious remarkable cloisters

You thought you knew how to be in darkness or light but you had forgotten to adjust for tint of underlying aura

She has no features until she chooses to show you

She’s always there but you won’t see her unless invited

Does that mean you must invite her or that she may invite you to do so?

You’ll never know who nominated you as a premonition

The room is calm because you can only see inside a deliberately ruined wooden frame

She will let you stand up eventually

You see what she wants you to see

The sound of rushing garments is completely illusory

She’s very still. It’s your thoughts rushing

She is nothing contained, everything survived

She chooses her own remedies for any lack of brightness

I think you can stand up now but only for a moment

You’ve barely looked at her

Yes, you are on your feet now. Have you found the floor?

What are the dimensions of collective memory? What shapes would you draw to mark borders?

She doesn’t bother to cordon anything off. She inhales time as it falls.

I had no idea how badly I knew her. How badly I was never alone. How often I’d been alone with her. How desperately time is her garment.

To be alone with time is not possible

To embody time is her only principle

That’s why you’ve always known her badly

She is your skin, your hidden garment, your memory

She is your unhappened escort

Her power is crushing yet she doesn’t do anything

What pours through her is waiting

You can sense her voracious calm

She is rarely visited

Have you come alone?

Where the thick woods part, where your memory hardens before a headrest

She guards every dictionary

Even now she is standing against your spine

Some call her a slip but they have only grazed her as concept

Close your eyes and see for yourself

You won’t meet anyone

You are almost present. Almost a filament. You can almost touch ether

In this gown, marriage is irrevocable

You didn’t exactly choose to receive her

You won’t change your mind

Your attachment to your own decisiveness is absurd and astounding

She’s numbered every one of your thoughts on gossamer sheets

Laynie Browne’s most recent books include a collection of poems, In Garments Worn By Lindens (Tender Buttons); a work of short fiction, The Book of Moments (Presses Universitaires de Rouen et Du Havre); and a novel, Periodic Companions.