The Iowa Review
I sit good in a chair. I sit good in the chair. Not anything
to ferry out across the twelve feet flexed
between my walls. The gods are floorboards
laid flat they don't flinch beneath the matter. I fit good in
this air. I am what space has done. It was very alone and fine
so it made heft of me. When I was
in place the doors were tall and I turned over my coat to be
suspended with my scarf stuffing its sleeve from a rack
six feet above ground, then slipped my number
in my pocket far enough down for if I forgot. I count
the times the feeder knocks the pane. When the waiting was
allotted I chose three rooms end to end, a shotgun
with a delicate sheen of grease and a couple
side-tables whose moony surfaces
the dust kept vague, the whole space
otherwise empty save for fungibility. A.M.
some threadbare slip of the visible
outfitted my sense in provisional state, such garish
lingerie the atmosphere affords and the Earth puts on
drawn by gauzy netting blade to blade to blade
to the concrete edge. Don't we all want to be
less density. A draft, the solitary
proceeds. Hard to tell
my own back from the one upholstered in blue
twill the landlord zipped a dustcover over
for protection. I lean to it. The line wound back
to information. Were you closer to the rim
of life on either side you paid less to go in. I listened to somebody
start in the wing you recognize, then advance
through the centuries you'll see
then returned to a second-story
view spread evenly, no gaps, no
slots below ill-fitting drawers
like splintered envelopes I used
to send my hand
when it was small.
I doll the silver pull to tell
the Roman shades: now wait and see
the sure unerring glide of me
through after wards (those sterile cells
appointed behind frosted glass
from which the errant clicks emerge
and moving colors on the verge
of men. Pale chronophobic gas
the sound of someone opening his mouth)
Oh I was fine then. I was just
thinking less. I get somewhere, esophagus
a bike chain working plush skin carpeting the neck.
The ongoing hum
of mandatory small talk
while I rifle for a sense
of how to pause. On bookshelves
shave and file what the matter was.
To humor gravity, I let my objects fall
though it's only tact, though a statue's muscles
bucking up against stone skin prove
something fast inside of him is racing chiseled
cloth, I mean my skirt carves out the contours of
the gesture I will turn to next and show air's not this
easy covenant we'd thought
but Lucite into which the grooves were cut
to fit our deeds, no
intuitive drapery no breathing veil, you sheer blinds: tell me
why up on the floor did I say I was free
and I walked out easily, I pawned the acts I owned
for a pendant spirit squandered unto smut,
under yellow loostrife, I was personally
someone else hoping it'd look habitual
to sub in for the future
No, not in time.
I bit down on the isobel. I take
the content in like a museum. You do something.
Then you do it again. If I do the same thing
more times will it be more to me? Well,
no, not necessarily. It may be less.
What it is to be alone
I wouldn't know, when nobody's around
I'm not also. Can't see out of her
who only picks the dirty ochre
cushion insulation from her seat and pills
the bits into weak regimens
the draft takes, she doesn't mind,
has no mind to protest, and so
to keep myself in situation I
whisper that she might not hear
me call her by our name.
The Iowa Review
Founded in 1970 and edited by faculty, students, and staff from the renowned writing and literature programs at the University of Iowa, The Iowa Review takes advantage of this rich environment for literary collaboration to create a worldwide conversation among those who read and write contemporary literature.
They publish a wide range of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, translations, photography, and work in emerging forms by both established and emerging writers. Work from their pages has been consistently selected to appear in the anthologies Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories.
The Iowa Review online
Margaret Ross is the author of A Timeshare. She is currently a Jones Lecturer in poetry at Stanford.
"Personal Life" originally appeared in The Iowa Review 43.2 (2013).
This page was first displayed
on February 07, 2018