Reaching from history, that alpenglow, towards the dead whose clothes I wear
tracked from room to room, the prodigy house we’ve built
from the ambient low-fi hum—You pass your tongue through it. But what are you,
the woman in the checkout line kept asking (watched over by the tabloids,
themselves an extinction event, a deferred ecology). What makes you permeable
to axe. Shelter. Effigy. Tarot. I place my hand inside the box
& then I draw it out again. (The film students worship in ragged pairs.)
In the carrion-fields the insect eye unpicks the red thread, its tiny miracle-play:
Split the body to expose the toll. So you step out into the diversity retreat
the faith calls “Easter.” Someone else’s memory, the jeweled slime of the carp’s
underbelly, its torsion & snap. We loot the house of its unmentionables.
Today I wear the hat of a man whose daughter I did not marry
& the dark brown shirt of another man whose daughter did not marry me.
Music sifts through the otherwise empty room reserved for what we call the future,
though it isn’t that. Almost imperceptibly my organs break
from the picture plane, the finance sector, the matte radio whose sticky
wave-fronts buy the body back. —That’s what it wants. What it always wanted.
G.C. Waldrep’s many books of poetry include: Testament (BOA, 2015); Your Father on the Train of Ghosts (BOA, 2011), a collaboration with John Gallaher; and Disclamor (BOA, 2007). Waldrep has received prizes from the Poetry Society of America and the Academy of American Poets, as well as the Colorado Prize, the Dorset Prize, the Campbell Corner Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative American Writing, and a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Waldrep teaches at Bucknell University, is Editor for the literary journal West Branch, and serves as Editor-at-Large for The Kenyon Review.