Those little plastic number puzzles
given out at grade school parties:
slide this tile over here, and—
eventually you’d have made a clearing. A way to move through the world.
Each ridged edge hooked under the next, lagged at the nudge.
One step closer to yes.
Joy of click-click getting there,
getting it down right.
Down right: perfect-heart i. Down right: cartwheel on the lawn,
roundoff, Roundup, emerald sheen. Knife-blade crease, designer jeans.
Line and spoke, black and white, scrape of chalk in long straight lines.
Slide right, down right, never fall.
Keep one space open so you can move at all,
Lepidopterist. Taxonomist. Sewer
of tiny stitches. Trompe-l’œil
in the entry hall, villa engraved
on a grain of rice. Twenty-four
K pure, frictionless, edgeless,
poreless, ageless, more is
less is more is an eye
for an eye, tooth ultraviolet
in flawless bite. Black granite
antibacterial gold-standard singularity
of the quantified self. Rain-X
on the windshield,
shiny new phone
in its matte-black box.
Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet’s The Greenhouse, winner of the Frost Place Prize, was published by Bull City Press in 2014; Tulips, Water, Ash, was awarded the 2009 Morse Poetry Prize. Her poems have recently appeared in Rhino, Zyzzyva, The Collagist, Blackbird, and Kenyon Review Online. She writes, edits, and teaches in Portland, Oregon. (www.lisagluskinstonestreet.com)