In the flapping of Borges’ pigeon wings, lodged in Gregor Samsa’s gizzard, in the cello
played during commercials for luxury sedans and the crow
clinging to the top of the telephone pole, behind a mountain’s profile,
at the bottom of my glass, wadded
in the pocket of my jeans
I am the story I am seeking.
In every face, every poem, even yours.
Yesterday, with my knees aching on the cement floor, I moved my ouiji hands
over the shelf until they snagged on a poet named Ruefle
which felt right since it was my last day at the bookstore and I was looking
for words to explain. I found
“Everything that ever happened to me
is just hanging — crushed
and sparkling — in the air,
waiting to happen to you.
Everything that ever happened to me
happened to somebody else first.
I would give you an example
but they are all invisible.
Or off gallivanting around the globe.
Not here when I need them
now that I need them
if I ever did which I doubt.”
and that is how I want to go, trailing sparkle. I leave the door
open for you but I take this stanza with me because it’s mine now, my Ruefle
to stuff under my shirt, to pad my passage. You can read it when I’m done.
Why do you have to bring up those other people, you ask, don’t you know
it’s so off-putting this name dropping thing you do, don’t you care
about my experience? What about me? But of course, I tell you. Show me,
show me what you’ve got under there. Let me have it when you’re done.
Look at me, I tell you. I am smiling. Look. I shiver with open
arms. Look, I’m older now but I’m not done yet. I have enough shine
to share. And look, look at you, hanging there like a frozen star. You are so
fucking beautiful. I want to take you with me, I want to stuff you
under my shirt and make you mine.
With a nod to Courtenay Bluebird
and everyone at the bookstore.
Did I mention that I quit my job? Yesterday was my last day. I really did go to the poetry shelf for an answer and found Mary Ruefle. Wow. I did not pocket her book, but the thought did cross my mind. Have you ever stolen a book? Tell me a story.