Tape tacked on a lamp
Post. “I” spray-painted
On someone’s lawn.
A raised book casting
A shadow on the pulpit.
Perplexed by flyer, home-
A cloud conceals the sun.
Shadows disappear. Odd
How the adhesive strip
Unravels and recoils
When the wind halts.
The flyer fell. The book
Is “Modern Furnishing.”
The “I” is a 1.
Curb hole #1. Clogged
The construction worker’s
Hand slipped and stained
Mistaking the Parts for the Whole
The cross body bag makes the library clerk’s
Pink tee shirt ruche around his chest. The limp makes
Him beautiful. He raises his leg, steps and drags it
Across the pale carpet. The towel cloth looks like
Excess fat. He has his back to me. I see a limp and the
He is surrounded by the physically and
Or mentally impaired. The woman who side parts her
Heavy black mane. Uses her sweaty palms to pat
Down the unruly strands. Her hand is a brush and she
Is a horse. She towers over my desk. I see a hand and
The boy wearing a miniature U S A shirt sticks his
Finger under the license plate. The edge is sharp.
It cuts through distal and middle phalanx. Streaming blood
Over the prepubescent boy’s shirt. He looks small.
From my fifth floor window. I see the severed index
And the crown.
I assemble the statue. Recognize the head as my own.
Place him before me. He is a stranger. Above me.
She is a lamppost overlooking the parking lot. Below me.
He is a PLU sticker on the kitchen floor.
The figures change and I remain still.
Point of View
Turn the knob and tilt the blinds. I see a car
And a cone on a traffic island.
Squint. The car fits between the slats.
Close your eye. The cone is on the trunk.
Close the other. A light shaft.
Stand on a stool. Peer between book
And shelf. I see a man’s face.
Between bookshelves? A corridor.
Look up at the light fixture.
It simulates glass and conceals a bulb.
Blow into the can shaped like a prism.
The bag undulates and peels open.
I see an apple core, a parking stub
And a puddle of spit. Still foaming?
Still foaming. See the man holding the Styrofoam cup?
Elisa Taber is a writer and anthropologist. She explores the interstice between translation and epistemology in the indigenous narratives of the Paraguayan, Bolivian, and Argentine Gran Chaco. Both her stories and translations are troubled into being, even when that trouble is a kind of joy. @elisayerzataber
Featured phot credit: Amanda Ollinik @Allunderonemoon