You decided to stay. Almost everything is where you left it.
This isn’t what you wanted but you’re not smart enough to want and you don’t love enough to not want, you are too lonesome to be free and still seek a face looking back at you smiling. You look for you in the rock face, the sidewalk crack, the jagged concrete blocks mistaken for stone, you think these are metaphors but really your heart is no more necessary than a leaf. This is big or small, depending on what you need.
Some people sleep outside, some on purpose, right now in New York the pavement is warmer than the air still. Things fall onto the field and are kept. Some parts are forced to be whole. These are no more bodies than the temporary occupant of your skin is a name.
All the countries are ready to rise up from the map, we are tired of being held and tired of being brave, the air washed around a useless comma waiting for you to speak again; another day pours itself out onto the floor. The line of your hand, a seam, same road out and back, it doesn’t blink and doesn’t care. The sun from here is the width of a human foot.
Bound but not like this, maybe a picture of this, and she’ll give you that too, if it’s easier. The light is where it’s not touched. An icicle shatters and nothing is lost. You unscrew all the lightbulbs one by one or let them die. The hand can learn but it will never see.
A rock face painted on a teacup, our little words forever, nothing, nowhere, when, take, it takes forever to wash them out. A blister too catches the sun for a second. The world didn’t take shape by itself and if you stroll in near the end of the story with a shallow tray to collect the sweepings, each fact heavy as a baby, well, you’re late. We’re late and this is what’s possible with the window painted shut. This is a feminist ecology, the work doesn’t only work with you standing there. Nothing leaves her eye unloved. Attention is an aggregate like a cloud, its particles coalesce into form and are named and move off nameless, each cell missing nothing and that was not quite a cow. I never saw it. Who is the plastic who walks always beside you.
In Chicago there are probably those yellow leaves squeaking their little melancholy fissures in everything like you forgot. Stuck to the glass of the road but you never see them fall.
Diamond is a word we can be sure of, and something else about graphite like how glass was sand. The obtuse angles pull apart and stretch into a horizon, you know you made it up to help your spine align on its little axis and stay there without spinning. Nothing is flat. You can’t ever reach it. It’ll never end.
Sometimes there’s a yearbook of the dead. It picks up the light left in the room. No matter what time.
There’s an animal in a field too far off to name.
The figure in the Chinese landscape is hard to find on purpose. The fog sucks the helium right out of your faith and lets it fall and if it leaves a mark it’s love.
Pack enough dirt to your chest for armor but the pricks still come through and you know this, that any deliberate exposure to power is resistance, by example. The windows are painted shut and you draw a name against the fog on the glass and look out through it and the world aches on and on.
You are alive. The figure in the field is you.
– Dana DeGiulio
for Judith Geichman