by Tracey Knapp
Featured image: Félix Vallotton. Five O’Clock, Intimacies VII (Cinq Heures, Intimités VII), 1898. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
All those times I crossed the bridge to see you
and not one lap dance. We haven’t held hands
since that time in the rain forest, chanting Lord
knows what in Sanskrit. I saw my first wild boar there
but even he took off for the brush. Someone always ends
the moment. Another call dropped on your iPhone,
the cosmic forces at work. My dog sighs and stares
at my flip-flop from his pillow. At work, the office
is separated into orderly earth-toned cubes.
My friends, we gather here today
to sit exactly ten feet apart. I am exactly
one hour away from being drunk enough
to call my psychic in Tuscaloosa, two
commercials away from another headache
and Nova on TV. The universe expands, shifting
its contents accordingly. There was a time when
we were closer. Helen Keller learned to speak
by holding her teacher’s face, feeling the words form
and fall out of her mouth, the throat buzzing with thought.
I also like to touch people while they talk,
but not about professional sports. I love
and hate eye contact, don’t you? One glance
from the Girl Scout and I get the thin mints. I don’t get
all that crap about divine connection,
but there is something to be said about
a collective consciousness if you consider how
everyone likes vampires again. If I had a spirit
animal, I think it would be the wild boar.
We never talk about it anymore and I miss that
about us. The only thing that could prevent
a greater distance forming between two stars
hurtling though space would be some entropic net,
a giant wet towel. While you’re crossing
the state line on your last gallon of gas,
a streetlight deteriorates over the Safeway
parking lot. A shopping cart rolls
into my Dog Chow and the whole bag
splits open, the pellets skidding and colliding
across the pavement, two strangers scrambling
to gather them, to fill the bag together, to make it right.
Tracey Knapp is a poet living in Berkeley, CA. She works in communications and graphic design.
Knapp’s first full-length collection of poems, Mouth, was published by 42 Miles Press. Her work has been has appeared in Best New Poets, The Cento: A Collection of Collage Poems, Poetry Daily, Rattle, Five Points, The Hampden Sydney Poetry Review, and elsewhere.