In the half-light, I am most
at home, my shadow
as company.
 
When I feel hot, I push a button
to make it stop. I mean this stain on my mind
I can’t get out. How human
 
I seem. Like modern man,
I traffic in extinction. I have a gift.
Like an animal, I sustain.
 
A flock of birds
when touched, I scatter. I won’t approach
until the back is turned.
 
My heart betrays. I confess: I am afraid.
How selfish of me.
When there’s no one here, I halve
 
the distance between
our bodies infinitesimally.
In this long passageway, I pose
 
against the wallpaper, dig
my heels in, catch the light.
In my vision, the back door opens
 
on a garden that is always
in bloom. The dogs
are chained so they can’t attack like I know
 
they want to. In the next yard
over, honeybees swarm
and their sound is huge.

  • Camille Rankine, "The Current Isolationism" from Incorrect Merciful Impulses. Copyright © 2016 by Camille Rankine. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

  • Source: Incorrect Merciful Impulses (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)

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