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About this Poem 

"Michel Serres tells us that 'every form is draped in an infinity of adherences'; this has haunted my writing for some time. I’ve begun a series of poems in which I want to un-'drape' subjects that I have written about in the past, and release them from the upper layers of 'adherences' of meaning that I have previously explored. Beneath my understanding of these subjects, I am finding a sense of fable, and it is at that level I’ve begun to work. The writings of Bataille have been an excellent provocation for me in this work, as I seek a deeper, more disquieting relationship to the known, to what I perceive as the knowable and the unknowable."
—Rusty Morrison

Measurement Fable

Rusty Morrison

like water in water —George Bataille

Eggs, transparent and sometimes red-veined as insect wings, might be hidden
in bark crevices 

or a scatter of tawny leaves.

The distance between one gestation and the next, a pleat of the dress I wear 

as if I could sew myself another.

Practiced, my tendon-reflex where the tunnel narrows its halo
into a noose. I trust 

dexterity as a kind of nourishment, as I believe my own 
mother couldn’t.

To own, beauty is the first lie of it, and brief 
as incident

is gray 
thistles turning silver in sunrise as if for my eyes alone.

I see you surround me, mother, measuring what my exoskeleton 
withstands. Embellishment

is thin. When the eye inside blinks, its bone-house splinters. No eye inside sky 
but an insect 

drone can cause the entire horizon, seasonal
as hindsight 

which follows rain. No death 

will stop measurement
spiraling out, a long ribbon of salt I must choose repeatedly to cross.

Copyright © 2014 by Rusty Morrison. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on January 7, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Rusty Morrison

by this poet


the rustle of a Sunday bundle of newspapers tucked under my father's arm stop
and no father walking toward me stop
on the branch only oak leaves reddening as wind ripens their talent for exodus stop

on the lawn a scatter of wrens head-down but tail-erect stop



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