Spring 2012



As If We Were, As If We Were

H.L. Hix

I create lozenges compacted from listenings-in.
I illuminate familiar dreams and fables,
fit their formal structures to unique objects.
I badger abstractions into relevance,
assign names to otherwise anonymous sufferings.
I make things to question, though I make them from, selfishness.
Each passing train shifts keepsakes on my walls and shelves.
Though I myself don’t want, I do want others to want,
more dialogue, more complex argumentation, less
imagery and narrative. Artifacts of process

are artifacts, but there they are: the handles
of the china teacups out of parallel,
the sepia photos askew. Photos of whom?
I buy whole boxes of them at flea markets,
frame them, enshrine them together on one wall,
pretend them my ancestors, as everyone pretends,
no matter how their photos came to them.
The photographed whisper to one another. I listen in.
I obey what my body, not my conscience, commands,
act only on what is happening under my hands

and to them. What grounds have you to distrust fidgeting,
deny it wisdom and design? I might look better
corseted, but loosen those stays — look out!
I’m pink and wild. I have hair where you’ve never seen,
and won’t until you lie to me, give me beads
and baubles, paisley scarves and velvet wall hangings.
I love (and thus demand) that you give; I don’t care what.
And you, my animal, my pet, do I love more
your party-colored artificial fur, or your stuffings?
We are no longer young but still sprout wings

as if we were. As if we were, too, of a species
adapted to flight, drawn by the thousand generations
that preceded us to fly before the snow
to a place of flowers, and after it to return
to meadows and marshes and perpetual sun.
Is it my memory or imagination that teems
with associations my old life put into place?
My hairbrush and my thicketed reclusiveness,
my tablecloth and my ever-failing, snowblown schemes,
my apartment and my unsettling lavender dreams.


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