Caught my attention because of the noise, something descending, then gaining altitude outside my closed windows.

Something drawing its sentence to an end, then assiduously writing each word of itself back toward
its beginning—slow work, letters large and childlike.

The local newspaper’s headline: two helicopters will be flying in tandem over the city, sent by
the Department of Homeland Security to measure natural radiation—

as a benchmark for future comparisons.

Louder than the usual ones dispatched for traffic slow-ups, police surveillance.

In lieu of talking to itself, a little knee-jerk excitement can sometimes just put on a clean shirt, and resist its normal incentives.

On any day, in any weather, a messenger might be outside, marking my front door with the color
of water,

which could be misinterpreted as the color of smoke.

On my shelf, black plastic binoculars wrapped in their shiny neck-cord stand at attention
on dark lenses.

Helicopter vibrations mimic the rumble under thought, where thought-objects originate—

though very few actually surface as utterance, where exchange would define their value.

From my kitchen window, two helicopters in full view: only the innocence of that narrow space
between them

clarifies as something to watch.

“Only” is a trick to keep logic busy, as the restlessness of intuition slips in or out.

The ambiguity of direction can sometimes be held up to the face like a cool, damp cloth to soothe
what observation can’t.

A messenger might slide a blank piece of folded paper under my back door, meaningless, whether
or not I open it.

A wily un-identical thought can nest in any dense network of expectations, protecting itself
from disclosure.

A messenger might keep readjusting her position so that the obvious is always obstructing
my view of her.

Exhaustion was intentionally inserted into the news report—

which is not the same as placing in the middle of the living room a couch that everyone must
walk around before sitting down,

but seems like it.

As a child, I’d imagine myself sitting just a little deeper, a little farther into one particular wooden
pew in our neighborhood church,

and never being found again, except by sunlight from my favorite stained-glass window at the right hour of day, and by moonlight at night.

While the church empties of people and fills and empties again, while the helicopters drone on.

As a child, I could have re-read the news report enough times for its messenger to condense, and the need for a message to disappear.


Rusty Morrison‘s –Beyond the Chainlink- (Ahsahta) will be published in January 2014. Her book -After Urgency- won Tupelo’s Dorset Prize. -Book of the Given–is available from Noemi Press. -the true keeps calm biding its story- won Ahsahta’s Sawtooth Prize, Academy of American Poet’s James Laughlin Award, Northern California Book Award, and DiCastagnola Award from Poetry Society of America. –Whethering-won the Colorado Prize for Poetry. She has received the Bogin, Hemley, Winner, and DiCastagnola Awards from PSA. Her poems and/or essays have appeared in A Pubic Space, American Poetry Review, Aufgabe, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Lana Turner, Pleiades, and elsewhere. Her poems were anthologized in the Norton Postmodern American Poetry 2nd Edition, The Arcadia Project: Postmodern Pastoral, Beauty is a Verb, and elsewhere. She is co-publisher of Omnidawn.

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  1. Pingback: Table of Contents, Issue Five | Matter

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