V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




The difference between what’s required
and what’s desired is the difference

between the chocolate and the cake,
the car and the new car smell, the nightie

and the night. There’s so much I want
to twist round my fingers, to stroke

and stir, sketch and stretch, but so much
I should sweep and scrub, strip

and sterilize.  But I’d rather wring dirt
from my pores, turn it to ink instead,

rather scurry to my driveway to study
the moon’s abrupt phrases than kneel

with bucket and mop to banish shadows
that have sprung up on my kitchen

floor, darkening my soles as if I were
anointed, a kind of low-rent henna

for the lazy and uninhibited.
I should keep the unmentionables

unmentioned, nudity prohibited,
purses to a minimum, but I thrive

on clutter—my gaudy bras and bags
of yarn, my malfunctioning pens,

last chance reams of slightly damaged
paper. The difference between what’s whole

and what’s held, what’s withheld
or revealed, what’s real and what’s

revelation—that’s what I seek,
rest of my life spent in search

of little epiphanies, tiny sparks surging
out of the brain during the clumsiest speech.


© by Allison Joseph


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