William Neumire This Is How to Go About It

in the hot barn, scratch hay, shuffling
horse hooves, planetary
eyes in the rafters
with a different body,
a story you wrote
whose protagonist was too you
outside with the early robins
too early for real spring
& longer light; what are they
doing here with a passionate forgetfulness
in a novel about the conspiracy
of absolutism? No one has struck
upon deductive moral laws.
The night is a flower
with bedsheets for petals
& a center that decenters;
how can there be a center
from which to stray?
Check your calculations:
the engine that creates
your context, the engine
that passes from mouth
to mouth in getaway
kisses. According to identity
theorists, how can you
be the you of your smaller,
emptier childhood?
How can you be the you
before the transplant,
the 50 pounds, the riverly scar
along your sternum?
How can you be the you
before the kiss, the accident, the night
in which you were candled
by a swarm of fireflies
& far off train music?
How can you be the you
from before the sunset
as though the night
meant nothing?

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