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Elisa Gabbert



I wake up in questionable light.

The blurry walk to the train,


the facts seem undefined.

Temperature is what thermometers


measure, nothing more

understood. Rat birds in the subway,


excellent buskers. One thinks,

Dark days. I read on a blog that


whatever it is you’re not questioning

is probably the problem. The problem


with being smarter than I was

as a kid is the lack


of improvement, a blanket

sameness. One thinks, Malice


or somebody says it.

Radioactive decay.




Beginning with a line from Verlaine



An ancient terra cotta faun

laughs on the green,


or a chipped ceramic deer

smirks on the lawn.


I can shift it back and forth.

We’re on a spring-day stroll;


we will the world springy.

Running up the hill


in his dream, John said:

I’m turning into a gazelle,


then did. You’re making this up,

I say. He seems proud of


his transmogrification, still.

Per usual, I was me:


my car veered toward the edge

of the half-built highway


trying to form a bridge

o’er a bleak western scene—


the older I get,

the more I see the seams


of the conspiracy.

The pond’s all water


again, and the geese

are blasé, they accept this


as the new normal.

What happened next.


The hillside went swampy,

he felt doubt and regret.


If I don’t wake up before

I fly off the ledge,


it just stops being scary,

like I’m watching a movie.

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