Sometimes it’s enough to fill a notebook with my eyes,
craft an inkless story, an act for a small circus.
Everything is in there: verbs, characters, a sideshow
performance, a juggler’s cascade, breath.
One day, I accidentally trapezed my morning coffee,
taken black, across the pages, which of course seeped.
Now parts of the notebook appear aged like a prop
in a play that takes place long ago. Some pages adhered,
allowing me to skip over time. I considered starting anew,
but decided stains don’t change the arc, and left it as is.
I’m aware that a blank notebook filled with pages no one
can read might make someone feel sorry or worry
that I’ve erased myself. When the opposite is true. Even if
I swear on sacred text that I’m happy, there are people
who’d want to add sickness or tragedy to this, the type who finds
buffoons sad. There will always be those who don’t want
to live under the big top. My friend sent me a stack of red
and white popcorn boxes embedded with torenia
seeds, which I planted. Clown flowers bloomed.
My plan is to finish the story and bury the notebook.
Tutoring During the Anthropocene
My student and I read a story about a cowboy
who discards his poisoned horses into a river.
Even clouds rot in this wet time. River rises.
We learn of a moon phasing in reverse, boneless
fish, dirty remains, fire and remorse, and something
further downstream, unmoving. Who or what it is,
why it’s there, doesn’t seem to matter.
I am struck by how few questions she has.
H.E. Fisher is the author of STERILE FIELD (Free Lines Press) and JANE ALMOST ALWAYS SMILES (Moonstone Arts Press), with work appearing in Tupelo Quarterly, Whale Road Review, SWWIM, and elsewhere. H.E. was awarded City College of NY’s 2019 Stark Poetry Prize and has received nominations for BotN and The Pushcart Prize.
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