We get our feelings from each other.

Accumulation of an ice so fine I move it melting with a finger.

Shapes occur in breaking, then are pressed back into same.

The circle is the suff’ringest.

Each holy gong prolongs it.

I cut it into lines.

* * *

Punishment must not exist in any final way here.

Or punishment is this stretchy non-finality.

A man behind us snores incessantly in a loop, preventing us from sleep.

It’s a loose and muffled sound, as if he is producing an endless strip

of lace, with figures in it, and scalloped edges.

I feel my life go in and out of me.

* * *

And this brings me to Zuma, born a bird.

The spandex woven into certain maladies.

The way they snap back and repeat.

Are you a pretty girl?

I didn’t recognize you when I saw you.

This brings me back to Zuma, who’s my same age.

Zuma has adopted my husband’s mother’s affects—

her laugh, the sound of her voice, a few complimentary

things she has said to Zuma over the years.

She breaks this up with a wolf whistle,

and unpredictable screams that don’t seem mimicked

and don’t seem to correspond to the life

she’s currently living. I guess they seem remembered

but in a helpless way. She has a black tongue

that rises like a cashew and legs the color of rubber-bands.

I don’t know what parts it helps to tell you.

I screamed because I didn’t recognize you when I saw you.

I screamed because I could tell you also felt things deeply.

 * * * 

His gift was that my doubt appeared to him, physically, as a wound.

To him this wound gave off a light.

(Why did he say delusion is a lie that tells the truth?

Was he quoting? In disguise? Who thinks this?)

A handful of loose press-on nails.

A clustering of bubbles revealing life under the water.

They give themselves away.

Hiding beneath the trampoline’s screen to cloak the world in a feeling of cheap evening.

* * * 

To dig a hole.

To have me fall into it.

After his mother’s death, the word voilà reduced Roland Barthes to tears.

I had hoped to write in undefended words, or failing that, to arrange them
in an undefended way.

I dreamed I took a phone call in the ocean, on a chunky cordless phone.

I was washed under a powerful, tumbling wave and E. was angry at me
for putting her on hold, for the abrasive music of the waves.

Voilà—a word appears upon the dark: Succumbed. 


Bridget Talone is the author of The Soft Life (Wonder, 2018). She lives in Philadelphia.