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94 Corolla


As she came up the steps

she saw him through a window

and stopped. It was embarrassing

what I’d convinced myself would happen.

He called it a speech—

a medium-security vessel

for transporting thought across dim borders—

but nobody would know that when he started.

The days in the next room let loose

like they’d been saving up,

pounding out perfectly intelligible catastrophes

from rimless yellow words

spoken through six feet of foam rubber in Los Angeles,

natural and unhappy in a wet diaper.

Is this really what you wanted,

a square at an angle and groan-shaped capitulation?

Take it, then, and go back to your prismatic ratios.

Light reflects off the hood of a car outside onto the ceiling

and bounds from rafter to rafter as it parks.

The crowds keep moving,

and sometimes you recognize

not an exact person

but some relationship among the shapes in his appearance

or the movement of skin over his jaw as it forms words

in a conversation you could never hope to follow.

Shattered, you look down and notice

lenses embedded in the ground around you

robotically pivot toward the elevator doors in the distance

as they slide glamorously open

to reveal a swirl of water

glittering with diamonds and tears.

from Ethical ConsciousnessFind more by Paul Killebrew at the library

Copyright © 2013 Paul Killebrew
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Published in Paul Killebrew Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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