It was her voice that made
the sky acutest at its vanishing.
“The Idea of Order at Key West”.
I learned it in art class, second grade,
how to make my crayon portraits
of our house, posted by Mother
on the fridge, look more real; how
the nearest corner of a square looks
taller than the farther ones, how
two parallel lines begin converging
as the distance grows, till they
vanish into the horizon, which
changes as we turn inside the cone
of our cognition, which moves
each time we move, like Harpo
mirroring Groucho in Duck Soup.
It smacks of Plato’s cave, this mortal
dunce cap that shapes the world
for us, keeps our cares life-sized
and shrinks to indefinite the faraway,
like Wounded Knee or Auschwitz
or those figures keening in the streets
and deserts on our living-room TV.
William Trowbridge is a faculty mentor in the University of Nebraska-Omaha Low-residency MFA in Writing Program and was Poet Laureate of Missouri from 2012 to 2016. His graphic chapbook, Oldguy: Superhero, was published by Red Hen Press in 2016. His new full collection, Vanishing Point, was published by Red Hen in 2017. His other collections are Put This On, Please: New and Selected Poems, Ship of Fool, The Complete Book of Kong, Flickers, O Paradise, and Enter Dark Stranger. For more information, see his website at wiliamtrowbridge.net.