Rowland Bagnall

2 Poems


The world occurs to me.
I feel my way into the space and cooling air
outside, leaving behind an article about
the bridge collapse in Genoa, a city I once visited,
the sun, now (relatively speaking) level with the upstairs
windows, setting, slumping down and to the right,
which seems completely insignificant.

I destroy my house and everything in it,
especially the Pyrex Oblong Baking Dish w/ Lid
I borrowed from my neighbour’s car. I crack out thirty
ice cubes from the ice tray to the sink, return the ice tray
to the freezer and then entirely destroy the freezer.

Later on the house is fine, repaired while we were out buying
whatever. I run my hands across the table’s grain, feeling
its coolness underneath my palms. When you’re asleep
I come downstairs and stay up doing this for hours
for reasons which will sound insane.

At some point it becomes midday.
I study the asparagus fern, admiring the way each frond
is just another fern in miniature, immaculately detailed,
vanishingly small. But why should what I’m seeing
now be interesting to me at all? What about yesterday,
or the day before, or gearing up and planning for
whichever trip we’re taking next? (Mexico City?
Back to Greece?) So what the grass is rising
after all that unexpected snow, or that those
partygoers seem to us so strange and otherworldly?
The worst has passed, not that it matters now:
a pattern of tilted squares emerges on the kitchen floor.

Another night I dreamt I went the opposite of blind,
which was to suffer an excess of sight, each substance
freshly rendered with outrageous clarity, silver-outlined,
sickeningly tangible. Since then the world appears as if
reduced to its most basic parts – sky, trees, jutting rocks –
more than enough, I think, or just about.

The sun has dropped. The garden
is very still, low-key. I’m wondering how
much of this I might remember, straining to take it in,
even these ugly, overlapping clouds. I’m reminded
of a story I was told about a woman falling off
a balcony and getting up and laughing
and simply limping away, the blue air darkening
the corners of the house, collecting anything close
to hand, baring its newly-strengthened teeth.


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