She has forgotten what she forgot this morning: her keys, toast in the toaster blackening the insides of beloved skulls, little planetariums projecting increasingly incomplete and fanciful constellations: the Gravid Ass, the Mesozoic Cartwheel, the Big Goatee, the Littlest Fascist. Outside her window a crowd gathers, seething in white confusion like milk boiling dry in a saucepan—some lift fingers to point this way and that with herky-jerky certainty but they're standing too close for all those flying hands so that eyeglasses and hats fall—apologies inaudible, someone hands a fist, the brawl overwhelms the meager traffic of pedicabs and delivery trucks stacked high with rotting lettuce. Meanwhile above it all she's setting out the tea things: ceramic cup and saucer, little pewter spoon, pebbled iron pot, a slice of Sara Lee. Waiting to remember to turn the radio on, listen for the elevator, for the lock to turn or a knock on the door. In a little while she'll put everything away in the same configuration at the bottom of a clean white sink with its faucet dripping. We who watch this, half-turned away already toward sunny gardens or the oncoming semi— being not the one dead but not exactly alive either. The skin is a glove that wrinkles as it tightens. The cerebellum's the same. A game of chess between walking sticks—I mean the insects made up to resemble wood. I say we dissemble from photos and repetition our stakes in these weightless names.
Copyright © 2010 by Joshua Corey. Used with permission of the author.