the topography of the misplaced

tell them that
even now
 
you cannot stand animals.
tell them
your stomach
is a kind of animal
as is your shoes
 
that up close,
giraffes look like baby deer.
tell me
about how you couldn’t
 
mix color quite right.
 
how as you get older
things get taken from you:
 
I broke my hand
on the jaw
 
of the kid at the party
that said that,
 
and everyone either did heroin
or went to college
 
and that was what it was like
growing up in 1993.
tell me how when your grandmother
forgot everything,
 
she still remembered your name.
 
how you became all of the places
she imagines now:
 
egypt a kidney on a page.
 
she turns into far from west virginia,
cathedral spires
and smears of papaya.
 
and you are relearning to talk,
together, speaking in finger paints.
 
this is your language now.
chocolate peanut butter on your hands
 
and turning into the canoes
in ’44: circling and re-circling the lake
reverse churning
 
sunset far, far away: into
a panache of peaches
at the windowsill:
 
into we our only forest:
into we the only lanterns in the trees.

 

 

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Front page image: “Twisted Half 1,” by Jana Anderson

 

 

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