Listen:

Names of girls.
Names of paintings.
Names of horses.

I can’t decide which
I prefer: the struggle
or the boredom.

We have little to say, so Jack asks,
What was the best thing
that happened to you today?

Then on to the worst:
“The Rose & the Thorn.”

I burned my finger on the oven
this morning, burnt
to a blister—

it’s good to remember
how much it hurts.

“A war-torn country.”
This repetition, this reportage.

Feature image by Robert Rauschenberg and Susan Weil. Untitled, 1950. Cyanotype, 57 15/16 x 41" (147.3 x 104.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, Gift of Carolyn Brown and Earle Brown. © 2016 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert is the author of The Self Unstable and The French Exit. L'Heure Bleue, or the Judy Poems is forthcoming from Black Ocean in 2016. Recent poems and essays have appeared in Catapult, Diagram, Harvard Review, Jubilat, Threepenny Review, and The Smart Set. Her monthly writing advice column, “The Blunt Instrument,” appears on Electric Literature.