by Tracey Knapp

Featured Art: Life by Simona Aizicovici


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.

Originally appeared in NOR 10.

Tracey Knapp lives in Berkeley, CA. Her first full-length collection of poems, Mouth, was published by 42 Miles Press. Tracey has received awards and scholarships from La Romita School of Art in Terni, Italy, the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fund. Her work has been anthologized in Best New Poets, The Cento: A Collection of Collage Poems, and has appeared in Poetry Daily, Five Points, The Hampden Sydney Poetry Review, The Shrew Literary Review and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and has work forthcoming in Rattle, and Clever Girl: Witty Poetry by Women.


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