On Peekaboo and the Pathetic Fallacy
—or breathing’s disappearance qua
of eucalyptus, hills like pelt
spread over muscle, bruised succulents.
Black ocean lapping, lapping, and erosion
throws itself at the freeway, giddy mud
penned in, restraining wire. Who is the cliff
that can’t hold on, that slides? Contours
self-transfiguring, traffic blocked. "The only constant
is impermanence." "Get home safe!"
You and me—these precincts
bearded with seaweed—your body.
Igneous, milky. Halo flash on windshields at sunset, scary vestiges
of heaven, cop’s mirrored glasses. So
we lived inside this tang. "Object constancy"
means the infant believing past the blanket, bougainvillea
uncancelled by the fog. And liquefaction, faults
and rupture: natural. But it hurt, the seized-up
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.