01 January 2023



On the first day, I woke
in the dark. The wind howled
like Allen Ginsberg, rattling
my windows and my eyeballs.
I invented the electric light
and turned it on. Another me
appeared on the floor,
like a crime-scene outline
drawn in black chalk and
filled with dark. I introduced
myself and invited him
for dinner. He had never tried
Chinese food, so that’s what
we ordered. My doorbell rang.
Bags appeared. We arranged
the cartons on the table.
My shadow said so much
depends on the egg rolls
drizzled in plum sauce
beside the orange chicken.
I thwacked him on the head
but my hand went right
through him. This is a poem
about tragedy. I’ll start again.
I dreamed I was visiting
Opal and Ellen Nations,
and we ordered Chinese food. Because
it was New Year’s Day, the food
took so long to arrive that
Opal kept eating slices of bread
with Cheez Whiz while Ellen
showed me the linoleum tiles
she’d chosen for the kitchen floor.
Nothing is more interesting
than when someone shares
their dream with you. Suddenly,
a shard of sun slips between
the curtains and enters my eyeballs.
I inflate. I drift out the window
and into the morning-lit sky.
It’s all so beauti— I deflate
and plummet to the ground.
A pebble is lodged in my shoe.
The breeze ruffles my thinning
hair. The shadow of my hand
caresses my unshaven cheek.
We people on the pavement
looked at me. Everything
I’ve told you here
is remarkable. A burst of
the present plunges into
your outstretched arms.

Stuart Ross
1 January 2023

Over and out.


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