Susan Scarlata


You have it made. All circle and triangle and thick soles on your shoes. But where is your arm that’s not that one? That is so not a banana in your pocket, your bike seat erect as a set. A kite between clouds. But this is your dream, so no matter how wet. When you are not sleeping what all gets caught in your chain? There are windows and doorways behind you; the same way there is a glimpse of your hard working skin. Your head rests on your shoulder though it might startle and bobble at any time. There is a child kneeling in a big hat, another within a quilted suit. This is all behind you at this point. Your chain is loose, the antithesis of your chin locking in to breastbone. Bent clavicle, collar made of bone. Your entire spine is supported, comported. Your sleep is open because of the washed stone behind you, and all the compartments your body can become.


Is that an oasis beyond your bench, or some other drought? Your clothes are more cloth than hem, more wrapped than cinched. Seamless. You have really let go, or you are a child with the ability to go most limp, to let all tenses fall freely. Your hand hanging over is effortless chic. Each time I look you shift from hip sleep to belly. It is the lens’ angle, but also your distance above the sand and how irises can meld shapes together. You’re androgynous too with cloth around your head you could be either, other. Your hand is poised as if to dance with long-reaching fingers. Proving class by finger length seems hard at this point, but yours could point at anything you like without offending. The kingdom you long for, for instance, gesture toward it with your thumbnail.

Susan Scarlata’s essays, poetry and reviews have appeared in Conduit, The Denver Quarterly, Fence, and elsewhere. She received an MFA from, and taught at, Brown University. She is the author of the chapbooks It Might Turn Out We Are Real (Horse Less Press) and Lit Instant (Parcel Press).

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