The First Person

You became the first person.
It happened one night on a swing set.
You were a lonely first-person child.
Then you got so big. You took airplanes.

I became the first person.
It was frightening, I hid under the stairs.
Then I got so big, I turned
the stars on and off with a switch.

Under a Virgo moon, I had a baby.
He became the first person. He got so big.
He grew a pony tail, got a girlfriend.
They were both the first person.

They escaped to the forest.
They wanted better. The forest
was in danger. Its secrets
were retreating. The couple hid

some forest secrets inside
themselves, then they came back
to visit. We all became the first person.
The whole city became the first person,

then all the cities, even the barely
imaginable cities from the National
Geographics. Our retreating secrets
got so big inside us. We closed down

the bars. We stopped the doom calendar,
and we loved ourselves. All around the globe
we loved our first-person selves. And we didn’t
die.  And we didn’t die. Then we died.


Paula Cisewski is the author of Ghost Fargo, selected by Franz Wright for the Nightboat Poetry Prize, Upon Arrival (Black Ocean), and three chapbooks. She lives in Minneapolis where she serves as cohost of the Maeve’s reading series, co-concoctor of JoyFace Poetry and Arts, and writer-in-residence at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts.


One comment

  1. Pingback: Issue Eight, July 2014 | Matter

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