for Mike, July 2016
After Dale’s sudden cancer,
his body wasting swiftly to death,
I didn’t believe in love or beauty, or my ability
to write poems.
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All this noisy commotion isolated a fairly small universe of nothing special. I had faced the assistant to the incumbent, his failed face of poetry bottomless with self-pride and a satisfaction that fed his wolf. And he was a wolf and when I scoffed at him with some penetration I could see the clamor of his wounds but also the vanity in his recognitions. He believed I was undeserving and thought it his right to judge, and his judgment, a stun gun, took my gender and race and euthanized its center, and he thought this was an extension of the occult, that it was the intuition of a bright star affecting forward. I wanted him to see this in a particular light but the particular worsened into a bruise of matter far more inhumane, and I fell into its hole and he, with his glee, had no idea, because his gender and race gave him the privilege to look down and see how my skeleton warped my will but not the firmament of my broadness, and what I know now as measuring across power and enduring many luminary deficits that come out of symptoms and their fallen edges.
Prageeta Sharma is the author of Infamous Landscapes (Fence Books, 2007); The Opening Question (Fence Books, 2004), winner of the 2004 Fence Modern Poets Prize; and Bliss to Fill (Subpress Collective, 2000).