Rae Armantrout

Like

      1
She never said, “Look at that bush” or “Look at the sea; that’s a beautiful
bruise-blue perpetually subsiding.” She drew my attention to only a few
things: Xmas lights, The Last Days, Frontier Land.

      2
“What it’s like
to be me.”
Where watch out
and report back
cross—

a stubborn eddy.

A tendency
to take exception?

How much of me
could be lost
while like remained?

Could like stand alone?

Does it?


Poem

Attention wanes.

The ability
to arrive

from scattered locations
at one time,

making a picture appear,
wanes.

      *

In your dream we’re in a far off land
and I look completely different,

indifferent,

pretending not
to recognize you.

But here I hold
your dream
in my poem.


Versions

      1

So picture a virus
as a runaway

fragment,

a bit of living-dead
message—

“As if!”
perhaps, lost,

trolling for the warmth
it rejected.

It steals home
in the millions,

finds only
itself.

      2

Jazz blown
across a patio,

each phrase

provisional,
self-satisfied

as the customers
almost are