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Ick Worms

By
November 15, 2012

i.

Wet pets lounge out in the trees, all the abandoned bits
children leave, beyond what the self wants (to be bigger,
less attached). We say: We came here because we love it
and want to know it more, and: Golly you’re not my niece
you’re my granddaughter! (life consists of these little touches
of solitude)
As in a postcard photograph titled “Where I Roost”
and everyone else is captivated by the glint off the phonograph horn
but you’re enraptured by the pillowcase’s embroidered ice skaters.

ii.

Entirely of Possibility is the name of a bench
in Grand Central. No, in a park, a very big one,
and the bench is by a pond where you might go to eat an old sandwich one day.
The park’s capped by a castle and despite picturing the entire scene perfectly
and even with a memory of mincing up the steps to the opera
in a new black dress you will never know it. Entirely of Possibility
is the name of the ship that sailed Lake Superior and many years later
they found all the doorknobs planted in the cold lake bottom—knob-bulbs,
sprouted gold too heavy to surface. Entirely of Possibility
in gilt stenciled on the ship’s model housed in a Plexiglass box
mounted over the dinner table. One day the box is inexplicably filled with minnows.
Minnows, they are so stupid! They thought a ship meant water.

iii.

A man says, “I have learned people say things
with their faces. Eyes, and mouths, and even their hands!”
He watches Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? A camera watches his eyes—
as eyes are of and separate from—so, facts: the eye sees
the blonde’s big teeth not her blondeness; not the bulb but the small bead swaying
at the end of the string. Neither hollers nor umbrella-revolver. Darts
instead to the edges of things. The actor’s selves are spokes spun outward—
and the eye avoids the hub.

iv.

Torsades de pointes is the most beautiful expression
of twisted waves on an electrocardiogram, which is a garment
of shocking loveliness, long-sleeved with polished buttons,
two empty pockets to mimic the lower chambers, how they shake.
It is lovely, isn’t it, entirely of possibility, and the sidewalks are lively
with meaning. We agree a blue jay is the kind of bird who would don
a bobby hat and wield a nightstick. The crows know faces,
caw back. After rain a worm just wants to get out a little,
see a little beyond the dirt den, but the shame of it is a worm is easily
flattened, and a worm at night on a wet sidewalk is simple
to confuse for no more than a snapped stick.

G

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Elizabeth Gramm’s poems and reviews can be found in Salt Hill, Boston Review, and Poetry Daily. She earned an MFA from the University of Michigan where she was awarded a Zell Post-Graduate Award and a Hopwood Award. She has received scholarships and grants from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Norton Island Residency Program, and the Fulbright Program. She teaches in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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