Mary Jo Bang, p.2

                                    for Leslie Laskey

On the facade, egg and dart meets the architrave
and in the arches, impost to impost,
the held breath
of a stopped real. Inside, she is object—

genre-bound precious in a white-walled vault.
This is how the self stays
a self, she says. Unbendingly. She tries
the glass paneled doors plaid-wrapped

in wrought-iron sleeves, all art-
deco. Locked, they served to keep her
behind herself where pictures are lashed
and alarmed, and words remain one

with their categories: plaqued, apt or inadequate.
Each frame is a frame and perspective embedded.
A message is also embedded (Don’t touch me).
The cartoon moon, the papaya with palm tree,

the face of the figure who went to his death
with a chiseled look. What more is there? Tears
and repentance? An amaryllis turns
to say good-bye. Good-bye. Enormous sky

page. Harmony of the player/eraser unreeling.
The impeccable natural when nature reveals
its true salt.
In the heart of the morning,

the evening. The ten o’clock window opens
and inquiry enters: Who are you?
Alice retracts what she said earlier. Says instead,
I’ll only be more reckless if ever I wake.