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Minor Treatise on A Warning from Robbe-Grillet

Stunned bird rewakes in the cold
pan. Fluttering heart

placed there by hand, hand screened

in a plaid dishtowel—

When windows face each
other the thousand grassblades

quarantined in separate yards merge—

you like the phrase mise-en-abîme

—and the pan is named "Bake-King," innards
greased with old burnt oils. The bird’s

error is transparency, okay. But could this resolve

the stove’s erotic corners, enamel
curves harmed— how— as if by hammer-blows,

black metal shown through, bone

reversed. Temporarily broken-necked, small
duped-by-vision imperceptibly

revives. "Electric" is a slowly reddening

spiral, "gas" the sudden blue mandala/tit flaring
in the mother’s mother’s mother’s muttering

dark. You set it free by the dead stump, it hops,

hooray. Dumb energy recollects itself
into itself but if you begin

by believing in metaphor you will end

by believing in God


Frances Richard

Frances Richard is nonfiction editor of the literary journal Fence; a member of the editorial team at the art and culture magazine Cabinet; and a frequent contributor to Artforum. Her first book of poems, See Through, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2003. She teaches at Barnard College, and lives in Brooklyn.


The Brooklyn Rail

APR-MAY 2003

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