Another Art

For Elizabeth Bishop

Misplacing is easy. My Canon PowerShot
flash card jammed with Budapest

lovers on metro escalators,
winged statues of naked women.

Found it ravelled in the tape measure
I brought to tabulate how my waist

takes on poppyseed palacsintas,
Bull’s Blood, eggy bird’s milk.

Keys, of course, shoes, the other sock.
Then my GOWalking pedometer,

a 1½” X 2½” gray thingie I clamped
onto the tongue of my Nike’s,

a tiny pendulum to score how far I traipse—
177 steps up to Fisherman’s Bastion;

synagogue to basilica; museum, museum,
museum to terminal market.

Panicky—to lose that small trochaic
kathumping on my foot—

magic rattle assuring me:
you will stay invisible enough

to be loved. I retraced my steps,
eyes low to the wash of butts in gutters—

back over the Chain Bridge
to the stone lions with no tongues;

back through the cavernous Gellért spa,
with its frightening echoes

and limping white robes.
Looking hurt into people’s faces.

It was too trivial to matter until it did,
mass-produced in a China I’ll never know,

five-buck WalMart impulse—
eminently replaceable through the web.

It might as well have been
the hand of the child I never had,

my sister not-speaking to me,
my father never returning—

all those things-I’ll-never-know glitches
around which I mold myself

like a storm around its eye.
The young waitress at the Coyote Pub—

For when you’re hungry as a wolf
called out to me as I passed by:

“You left something. Here.”
The gray thing—heartbeats, feet,

bridges, time itself—reprieve.
Momentary joy.

Now what to do, who to be
without the freedom of the lost?

About the author

Susanna Rich has published two poetry collections, Television Daddy and The Drive Home. She's also a Fulbright Scholar, a creative non-fiction writer, and an…

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Issue 22 · April 2015

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