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Prague, Late December, 1989


Slept on the train
Slept in the car

Woke at the border
What is a border

Slept again, woke again
on that remembered street

Unchanged or
changed, hard to tell

I didn't know who
I was even, felt

like a cipher, a corridor
Things went by or

through me, and was
that what it was

to be a me
That none of it

was mine I knew
thought maybe to be

was to be as another—
Followed her through the city

the makeshift memorials
studding the streets

She wanted me to see
I wanted to see

Not speaking the language
it was all iconography

image of the butcher pig
image of the child

cradling a candle flame
against the backdrop of night

It was one way of saying
what it means to be in time

what this time means
or meant, to who or whom—

But some things never change
even in revolution, the shape

of a hand at rest, holding
what secret, the dream

of the lover, tight spot
in the small of the back

which is to say the body
limited or limitless

in its pains, its pleasures
Rainwater, snowmelt

the river rising
as the city is fled

or occupied
renovated or razed

That bodies in motion
stay in motion

this was the principal
lesson not of physics

it came to seem to me
but of history

that pendulum
that cannot stop

or the unthinkable river
that sweeps it all away

past the border towns
the razor wire

of no man's land
to the sea

which is no end
but where thought ends


Jessica Fisher

Bennington Review

Fall / Winter 2016


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