American Ocarina

Rachel J. Bennett

Clues to your existence poured out today, radically
         enough in their smallness, the way a murmuration

fills our minds even from a Youtube video, as if starlings stirred
          to a critical transition—liquid to gas, say, or how a metal

becomes ready to pull—could animate this imaginary room and
          a distant river could flow here, too, summoned the way

a song I last heard with you is bid to play in a loop here
           and makes a hypotenuse for desire. And the earth

 was without form, and void, and darkness was on the face
            of the deep. And what I try to understand is the pull

of grace to formlessness, how someone could live inside
             her head long enough to write it down and still know

how to caulk the tub, drive defensively, boil a perfect egg—
           long litany of things we know how to do without

giving ourselves enough credit. If I've never figured out how
          to keep you from going dark, maybe it's because

we need these stubborn ghosts, sometimes weathered and
           low as the world's longest echo, blanks fired from a pistol

in a defunct bunker, sometimes sharp: burst balloon, anechoic space.
      And again, Thinking that you were about to come over,

the song a reminder of the way everyday words repeat until
          meaning's gone—why nothing I ever meant for you was less

than—and if you were here now you would understand
         how the pigeons in their orbits make reality continuous

over Brooklyn and how your table and chairs conjured
           my childhood, or acted out its being irrevocably

gone. Thank goodness for these small dark wings and
           their intuition of connection, as if wired not for each other

but for the shape they make to our eyes at a distance.

Rachel J. Bennett's chapbook, On Rand McNally's World, will be available through dancing girl press this summer. Some places her poems live include Big Lucks, Rattle, Really System, Salt Hill, Sixth Finch, Vinyl, and Verse Daily. Come play on Twitter at @rachtree11.

Issue 13

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