Shannon Welch, p.1


This is not a letter,
or a list of things we've lost
in the specificity of personal address.

What do you think to say?
You imagine you are much
more than a series of impassionate

openings and shuttings of eyes, legs.
What do you think to say?
You put your hand

in the low curve.
The sentence comes out
even more slowly.

Every day, a terrible stanza
you cannot recall. To recall a stanza,
to recall the better part of it.

The immediate past lapses
in two days, then
we've got the anecdote to suffice.

Honesty means as much
comprehensiveness as you can
put in a brown paper bag.

But then my vocabulary allows
so much comprehensiveness,
I forget about humanity.

I mean, we've excercised
exhaustive candor and we haven't
even made it to the starting line.

The loveliest twilight of the year.
We already say: Last night,
so long in the distance, and
this ferocious climate.
I want to relinquish
and to slur and to say

I am prodigal, but
you don't want my kind
coming home

where what goes on
behind the walls is mostly
termites and lots of electrical wiring.

Given these underpinnings,
isn't it academic
that most animals cheat.

That we use honesty in the grossest ways.
To say, we are capable of heinous acts: ha ha.
To say, "I miss you" in other languages is

to say, "I'm made of less."
To be made of less not in terms
of how much we lose, but how much we lie.

To lie with another body when
I imagine two things in relation to each other
that are not awry in a field of stars,

that do not fall asleep
in an unnamed bed,
but none of our beds

are terribly distinct.
It is one thing to sleep and
quite another thing altogether.