Give me the common or the rare, as they roll We are mistaken in what we survive, in what we must eliminate. The ladies at the plate glass persist, reviving their brutal martyrdoms, worn thin by the abuse of soap, the contour of teacups in unison against smallpox, cosmetic agriculture, and wartime rape. And a woman they believe unrecognizable as such. She is given to volatility around faith. Faith in where the unlivable gathers like thistle, like wild yeast's affinity for chance where sexual impatience bursts from the sudden rise like malady. And it is knee-deep in mustard, in scattered hybrids of deliberate imperfection. Slice through against chronicle. Slip your thumb under the seam where the signal tugs forward. Pain, where you grasp it, is not what you don't want any more than an uncontaminated vat remains sterile, and cannot Be treated better, Or promoted across palate. Be perverse in your indifference to recommend a local history. Keep the virus for study, keep this loss of mime. I know so little, my arts are often mistaken in their assemblies, their lambic filiations among grain and tool. But it is such hands as mutate all along the breed, And travelling against, And loud.
From Ballast by Karen Houle. Copyright © 2000 by Karen Houle. Reprinted by permission of House of Anansi Press. All rights reserved.