Measure for Measure


Maybe the problem is scale. I can’t manufacture age
or enormity; they aren’t in me. I can read, but barely.
Modes of expression crawl over each other like ants
in the ground, each one bearing poison to the colony,
resolute as the knowledge of pain before it reaches home.
I rely on aesthetics so imprecise they are rendered best
in earth: this ripple of mountains, dark sleeves of road,
cross-sections of sediment and weather, lights crowding
any temporary city. Or, in opposite, the earth that parts
to swallow a woman, a cow, the gap shorthand for the fear
that grips. Reverence for beauty is itself abhorrent;
these are instincts familiar in equal parts. Yes,
we can synthesize. Truthfully, I am compelled to.
But we aren’t earth. We don’t know what we make.





Manipulation of substance: glory, suspension,
stasis,the satisfaction of arrangement rippling
through the body. Stillness: marble cut into blunt
steppes, dull with grit, anchored by cable bolts.
No life but sound in the quarry, a thrumming whine,
mechanical shovels bleating dust as they burrow.
Wheels shed pebbles in waves; water pools bright
and shallow; wind thrills through newly-formed pits
unassuming in all but magnitude. Beneath, though,
movement hot and frantic: insistent substitution,
modifiers overflowing, potentials swarming insensate,
the enormity of reason in language throwing shadows
on its ecstatic utter lack. To think I wrote all my life,
when in fact I was only tracing, my body reaching, to gloss.


    -Serena Solin