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The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 20-JAN 21

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DEC 20-JAN 21 Issue
Poetry

six


Gone



 1


This little begonia
is fierce enough to
matter.


To have a bearing
         on.


To press a point


and to be of some
          concern.



 2


This music gently
shakes itself


as if it had forgotten something.


Then it goes nowhere
urgently.


It settles here and there
to repeat a motif


like a bee
visiting flowers.


It winds concerns
on a spindle.


To hear it
is to have a mother


retrospectively









The Test



Do you ever get bored while urinating?


Are your dreams full of impassioned speeches which later appear nonsensical?


Do you recognize the speakers?


Do you feel they are making a fool of you?


What is the true meaning of the word fool?


Is a wind blowing from heaven?


Do you believe your dreams are previews of the afterlife or world to come?


When you hear someone express a thought which you have also entertained, does this make
you feel a) reassured, b) bored or c) threatened?


Do you enjoy reflections? If so, did your mother mimic your facial expressions when you were
an infant?


Do floor lamps reflected in window panes
resemble distant settlements?


Have you been pre-approved?









Tell It to the Judge



I admit I skipped “Sixteen Relatable Moments”


When the flurry of wind-chimes stops
I listen.


I write, “Closing dimples
          of sweetness.”


When another human speaks,
I turn away.


 *


I admit I confuse
eternity
with equivocation—


and that I do it on purpose,
as the leaves


nod and shake.









Fanfic



Medicine is “emasculated”
by statistics,
says Senator Paul.


 *


Replacement Robin
will be destroyed
by Original Robin
unless Replacement Batman
(Dick Smith)
is willing to step in.


 *


“As for we who love to be astonished,”


to attract a female
the lyre bird
mimics a chain saw.









Absorption



Once established,
a thing


is a fact,
and a fact


is an item,
an object


of pity.


 *


For the yellow slime mold,
on the other hand,


the map is the territory,
and the territory


is a body
of pulsing, fractal veins,


inquisitive causeways.


For the slime mold,
the map


is a stomach
and a brain.









Pyramid



I dreamed a family drama—
a kind of pyramid scheme--
three generations of messiahs,
an old man, his son
and a stolen baby
who had to be regularly replaced
in secret.


The son was a wastrel, some
comic relief.


Then the flowers at the window
got bigger, nearer


more engrossing.


That was “all I ever wanted,”
I tried to explain.

Contributor

Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout’s most recent book is Conjure (Wesleyan, 2020). She lives in the Seattle area.

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The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 20-JAN 21

All Issues