Available State Compensation Remedies #1: Museum

Don’t you love it when they walk toward you,
looking up into the museum’s surprises?

Don’t you love it when a flipped vehicle
is a particular cleverness suspended in a gallery

that worries over you, a tape recorder
on its inverted ceiling playing a language

you don’t know, accompanied by unfamiliar
instruments somehow still reassuring?

Your favorite pronoun walks toward you
in a fine jacket held onto with fine hands

level with a fine, nervously-protected sternum,
the glass doors poised to swing closed

behind them.  In the movie this makes
they may be a different one every time—

each exerts an awful pull.  You see the car
in their wake, it remains upside down

but seems less still, you can almost
taste smoke.  This must be

what it’s like to be a soft, wet puppet
waking into lightning.

You can tell as the glass doors fall
back towards the building

that smeared across them
are the reflections of clouds

but you cannot untaste the smoke.
And as your one, whose one you are,

sets out across the impossibly green lawn
to meet you, you cannot put your finger on

some elusive remainder, whose failure
to appear / almost gently

saps all color and light from the scene.

 

***

Marc McKee is the author of five collections of poetry: What Apocalypse? (New Michigan Press, 2008); Fuse (Black Lawrence Press, 2011); Bewilderness (Black Lawrence Press, 2014); Consolationeer (Black Lawrence Press, 2017); and Meta Meta Make-Belief, forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2019. Recent poems appear in Rockhurst Review, The Laurel Review, Copper Nickel, Memorious, Southern Indiana Review, and are forthcoming from Bennington Review, Inter|rupture, Los Angeles Review, and The Offending Adam. He teaches at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where he lives with his wife, Camellia Cosgray, and their son, Harold.

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