Duchamp’s Nude, Descending, Speaks
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Duchamp’s Nude, Descending, Speaks

I’ve been here all along—not there, but wherethe light shifts like the stutter when a phonograph skipsjust slightly, the voice overlapping with its later

self—like l’esprit de l’escalier: what we think of afteron the stairs: that perfect retort, that witnever synched to the moment. I’ve been there

on the brink of the landing, something truerto tell you. My dream of one face. I tried holding stilleven slightly, but my legs kept overlapping with later:

I was flamenco and nun. Accordion. Fan-fold and warfrom two years in the future; the bodies already shippedback. Their faces on the staircase—there where

time pleats into new reasons. Our hands: broken guitarstrings; machinery unable to touch. I was a flip-book of women. A zoetrope in a movie—each later

spinning inside the last like regret. The self overand over, and no one at the bottom of the steps’descending. What should I have said? I was there,here—where later keeps overlapping too late. [End Page 110]

Alexandra Teague

Alexandra Teague is Assistant Professor of Poetry at University of Idaho and an editor for Broadsided Press. She is the author of Mortal Geography (Persea 2010), winner of the 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky Prize and 2010 California Book Award, and The Wise and Foolish Builders (Persea 2015).

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