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Unterberg Poetry Center

One year I went a whole year without shaving. I don’t mean I didn’t ever shave, only—
once a week or a few weeks at a time. One time Katie said at breakfast, Your beard
comes in red. I was very very young then —Very very trying to be a body in a person.

Sometimes to go into town, to Pik n Pay or take the mail— the sisters let me take their
little truck. Our little house was white concrete & a long concrete verandah. At night to sit
in the dark my legs dangling over the dirt. Roll a cigarette. Always surprised in the dark. At.

My friend had died you see; but suddenly— All together traveling, to Bulawayo— by
way of Louis Trichardt, along the Maremani edge, where we knew we had a place to
pass across before the curfew. He flew. —Bursting & slipping & rolling, all of us, all
across the highway. The edge was upside-down & letting him go.

An instar is a phase of changing— Not lasting, as in its purpose fixed. Like a hawkmoth
grows a horn which later withers. His second instar. So like, closes, once your change has
finished. There’s the change.

For some time, in my recollection, everyone is Ryan. Ryan was not his name, of my friend,
flying, —but just a tall boy on a dancefloor in the middle of the night in a city. Smoking,
& somewhere else. An instar, like a person, finishes, exactly. Fixed. —& was your changing!

Except even the boy on the dancefloor wasn’t Ryan. Ryan like Orion is a phase in time.

Except— the instar when it’s finished is fixed not by time, but inside it— Three stars in
a line. Like, alive. Ryan is the middle part of a man. Person-boy-constellation. Very young.
He moves south across the black bowl of the sky at night around him. & There’s his change.

In this way an instar is This was the verandah. & Ryan is The bridge at Maremani. Orion
then is Open the gate for the truck.

Tim Carrier is from St. Louis and lives in New York City. He earned an MFA at the Institute of American Indian Arts (as a white / non-Native student), was a Lambda Literary Fellow in 2014, and was awarded the 2015 Galway Kinnell Memorial Scholarship at the Community of Writers.