Aught, no. 5 (2001)

Annabelle Clippinger

This is Not a Poem
(about me)

These lips cordoned off
for kissing curved their demand
of smile.

A tableau of me. A maquette
of me.

I gave the snow and ornamental
grasses some headroom to be
metaphors.

Truth is it feels as if I am taking
the same breath in reverse.

Thought I fled ego’s trap, but was
buttressed with a propped elbow
and a spread of skin entitled "me."

The borderlands, all infected by
my enthusiasm may also be said
to be "me."

Two children, my offspring, one male,
one female, genetically almost "me."

Will the icons of saints weep
when it is "my time"?

There is a scaffold of words
that has no meaning, though
language is mathematical.

I was given a name.
So, only the snow is unwitting.

"My" gloved hands brought you out
or was it the latex hands of the other?

Is a tumor or malign flesh a descriptor
of "me"?

Snow melting on a cheek, is melting.
Wipe it; it is that sudden, a cause
for flesh to seem.

Cradled you, both of you, alerted to what
I thought you were. Thoughts always inadequate.
There in "someone’s"
arms. A series of snapshots to recall, but
held inside of me?

A detail of a fiber on a sweater. Worn by my two
children.

A passage of pages.

Given: the denim sport shirt, lipstick and mascara.
And yet: a terror of the ordinary.

So, to bed in language. So, to interrupt order.
For kissing, fragmented down to the last syllable.

She must have cradled "me"; then only in the making.
A blueprint of me.
What shame is handed down. Or the high road?
An ethic of one’s choosing. Or not.

This imprint is DNA; this imprint is ink.
Here a detail of a page that obscures
the hole of meaning.

Exit here.

This was not a poem. Try this:

Miscanthus.
Tapered.
Casting spiky contrast
to the wall
in its frailty.
Wind shakes it once.
That auditory flash
is the dynamic that enters silence.

None of which and all of which
is me. What is "is"? Gone me.
Salvaged me.


Copyright 2001, by the author. All rights reserved.
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