Conditions for a Deadlock
If apocalypse, the little we wouldn’t doto stop it. If the heart rolling around like three lemons in a brown paper bag. If a roughnessgloved—the body another tossed garment, pocketsall turned out. If devotion is to have and thus be distant from it. If we tell each other what we must. If we help and help and helpourselves to anything we can. [End Page 133]
It sits in the slow burnof its own feathers. It dreams easy. And leaps. And failsto mention to the rest of us what could happenif it keeps happening—keeps leaving itselfin sunspots the way people do their shoesalong the stairs. It mixes red winewith rum and soon regrets it. It regretsnothing. Its one wish is to beara more exact resemblanceto itself, well lit and from the proper distance,transforming on command like a fistwhen you open your hand. It hidesits teeth, which have not been tried and foundwanting, but found difficult and leftuntried. It fliesbecause it takes itself lightly. It’s draggedlike the bones of our bodies over every awfulkind of love. And it’s proud to be alive like that, dyingfrom another. It wakes the deadvegetables in our crisper, cucumbers regreeningall at once. It scrubs the dishes before it breaksthem, which makes no sense. It makes no sense. It is the dissatisfying sparkleof pond-life, and the pond-life, also. It’s the smellof a barn on fi re, but doesn’t like itif you say so. It’s the vacant space where already and ever are nevernot looking at each other. It’s placed placesfor a reason. It wants to wantfor nothing, which it does, but also wantsa purpose, which it has already, which is to hold itselftogether. Beauty is what the soul has madesuffice. No one has ever seen God. [End Page 134]
Courtney Kampa is from Virginia and holds an mfa from Columbia University. Her work has received awards and distinctions from the Atlantic, Poets & Writers Magazine, North American Review, and elsewhere.