The Silhouettist

Is anything in it doing what you were interested in doing?
And pausing, a silhouettist, skillfully unaware, grew another day,
while another, kissfully aware, closed shop.
I will have to return another day to do this portrait—
Meanwhile these
Shadows that drop their coins — are all but one.
(only one large dollar my privates pursed).
I will spend this rent at old Wenceslaw square 
where I sit and wait for a silhouette to appear 
And ask me for work.
Like the one man who stood there like a capital, his eyelids dropped
Down to his feet, where they sat with the weight of a floor-length
gown. I emphasize the weight, though heavy, was very alive
and slow moving at his feet, a large snake pacing
in and out itself. Life! There! Observed in the far corner of Old Wenceslaw,
his capital head, almost asleep in my lap, gently appearing
to cast disco shades, gold and blue, in the far corners
where he stood.  
Some think the square should be renamed Kafka’s or, all the tremblings of the lids of K., who self-determined
that all vowels beat past him—in frozendinner wings—  while he saw through where he stood–
And universally took the lift! And in service, to me! worked,
w/ coal in the bosom! And worked freely a force
that scalps the earth, that pulls back the fiery the very
scalp of the earth!


Farnoosh Fathi is the author of Great Guns (Canarium Books) and the forthcoming Granny Cloud (NYRB Poets) , editor of Joan Murray: Drafts, Fragments, and Poems (NYRB Poets) and founder of the Young Artists Language and Devotion Alliance (YALDA). She lives in New York.

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