likes buttered toast, vulnerability…

By Elizabeth Powell

Featured art: Tujunga Canyon by Walter Elmer Schofield

My love lives in a little tiny box
Made of pixels and engineering. When I write him
He writes me back and when he writes me
Back, I write him. Even though we exist
Me/him, here/there: one day our band
Of consciousness will grow outward,
When science puts chips in brains
So all mysteries can be known—
Delusions, proclivities, sentences.
For now imagination a gangly vine
Grabs for a life. He has been so busy
Writing a narrative where he has no wife
That she has disappeared. So much first-person
Construct and banter. He has
A vixen schoolteacher held down
On the bed of his mind. And when he
Writes me he makes me
And when I make him I write him.
We are invented, in part,
By the wanting and not having
Of others. Soon someone else
Will pick him out of his little box
And begin again, wait for him
In the rain in front of the coffee shop
Where inside the donuts harden like
He can’t, and the red counter chair swirls empty
As if trying to conjure something so close.
But so close is almost, and almost is really
Far, still. She tries to pick him out of the crowd,
Ever hopeful, though night comes on like emergency.
And he is two places at once, virtual and real.
My love lives in a little box. Someone
Is making him
Into something else now.

Elizabeth AI Powell is the author of four books, the most recent “Atomizer” is a book of poems that explores synthesetia, poetic correspondences, technology, heartbreak, identity domestic abuse through the lens of olfactory imagery and the world of perfume.

Originally published in NOR 9 Spring 2011

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