& everything increases the wars the numbers the cities& doors admit people into houses& gates exclude people from the lands& we make snow globes those perfect lives under glass& we imagine skates gliding happily forever across thin ice& the lights are always on always golden& beacons steady in their welcome& the ice never breaks& nobody goes under& the fish see etchings in the sky contrails carved by shadows and blades& there are no planes no roaring silver birds no towers& even violence causes only weather& the next storm coats the town with glitter and prism& even a toy is a lesson in secrets& the fish are an uncertainty experiment& deep in the pond we pretend a shipwreck& the fish are all named Heisenberg& the people are made unknowable made entirely of secrets& the absence of touch& somewhere in the scene a frog has frozen solid& sugar prevents ice from breaking his heart& his voice in the spring will be mighty& spring will never come to the globe& the one gesture of a tree& the bare branch the bird endlessly perching& nobody has to stop skating& put away the skates and leave the beautiful snow& go through a doorway& into another world& the people glide between the golden lights and the golden fish& live in sudden storms of shining snow& they're cradled in distant unreachable hands& pierced by ice& saved by sweetness
Copyright © 2022 by Leslie Harrison.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Leslie Harrison’s third book, Reck, is forthcoming from the University of Akron Press. Her second book, The Book of Endings (Akron, 2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her first book, Displacement (Mariner, 2009) won the Bakeless Prize in poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming from Kenyon Review, New England Review, Sixth Finch and elsewhere. She lives and works in Baltimore. Read more at leslie-harrison.com
Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Michigan
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