What It Feels Like to Be This Tall

By Dobby Gibson

Featured Art: Giraffe by Max Rosenthal 

Not one of my costumes is believable.
I’m constantly away on business.
The morning, chiropractic, saddles me
beneath its colossal gravity.
In search of a breath, kneeling at the shallows,
the minnows scatter.
Wind farms hum atop the prairie.
Wilt Chamberlain’s bones groan from their earthen locker.
In my most private thoughts,
radio signals from distant lands
argue invisibly over static,
and like an ice-cream headache,
the only thing worse than feeling this way
is not having a reason to feel this way,
hoping against hope, against nature,
versus self—I miss you all so much. Send money!
I don’t have a fight song,
yet isn’t that alone reason enough to fight?
Let the academics roll their eyes.
Faced with a progressively larger fork
for every subsequent course,
at some point, even my belongings began to mock me.
I couldn’t eat another bite.
I’m starving.
Whatever you love most
is just another thing for me to bonk my head on.
I can’t even trust a kite.
Above the rest of you, from the back row
of my second-grade class photo,
Kristin Tweedy and I could see giraffes migrate the Serengeti.
Our knees ached with empathy.
Their hearts were as big as basketballs.
Tribal drums called us from the distance.
The distance called us from the distance.
Soon, everything would get knocked
over, and yet we would come in peace.

Dobby Gibson is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Little Glass Planet (Graywolf Press). He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Originally appeared in NOR 3

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