Kathy Fagan

Perspective and Day Sex Ode
March 24, 2023 Fagan Kathy



I have often confused the expression center of gravity, first
recorded in the 1650s, with center
of attention, coined well over two hundred years later.


When I was a child, for instance, I belonged to the world
and it was mine. With a trick
of the eye, I possessed the sky’s contrails and lightning bolts.


Puddles and tire tracks run through them belonged to me.
The liverwurst and poppy seeds,
the prefab housing and school yard, the Amish puppies,


their puppies, and all the puppies after. The stoner kid
outside the Jiffy Lube, flipping the NO
WAITING sign, was waiting for me. Even now, figs split


down their most desirable centers and crickets raise a helluva
love storm. From my perspective, friction
doesn’t break apart; it joins together. All the rail and phone


lines racing toward infinity meet at that one sweet spot,
the rule of bodies attracting bodies.
Woman’s center of gravity is in her pelvis. We’d been streaming


video from the space station, and in order to re-acclimate
to earth’s gravitational pull, I steered,
by its ovarian horns, my uterus towards you, vanishing point


to trajectory, thereby joining my center of gravity to your center
of attention. The Latin root for grave
and gravity is the same. Paolo Uccello understood that perspective


did not exist in a natural scene. Where would our eye come to rest
in a forest? But here, we are neither
new nor old. Your arms orbit my waist. The line of your nose


bows to the planes of my breasts. From our perspective, there is
horizon on both sides, a spectrum over which we peer, eyes closed.





Toward dusk the light was
lapis, veined with cirrus, bird, and contrail,
poplars alchemizing green to gold,
a light we might call glassy with the sun
behind it, low and cutting, like the final
word of an ongoing argument.


We’d fucked so hard the bed had bounced us off.
We’d laughed, in shame or shock, then climbed back in.
Night had not come on yet, as it would—
the bikes were paper cut-outs in the distance,
their riders one-dimensional, unhurried,
pulling the dark behind them.


Kathy Fagan’s sixth poetry collection is Bad Hobby (Milkweed Editions, 2022). Her previous book, Sycamore (Milkweed, 2017), was a finalist for the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Award. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, Kenyon Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and Best American Poetry. She teaches poetry at The Ohio State University, where she co-founded the MFA Program and co-edits The Journal/OSU Press Wheeler Poetry Prize Series.