Agnes, a sleep

I walk to the podium wearing a blazer

I pause within the single syllable of “thank”

I am trying to make “having ideas of my own” a little more fun

Someone I loved wrote a play
about a broom

and we travelled to see it

I believe it was summer

I enter the problem wearing a bland blazer

many problems I have entered
wearing a blazer

what is my relationship to control or mistake

or autobiography or details
of interest

when there is nothing left what do we do

the self at once inescapable and fully absent

I shall do some research!

I throw a single finger into the air
and walk to the podium

the self has been the brackets the self at other times has been bracketed

I walk into the room to find you have made 
a fort


true/false: having a process is at least as important as having a product

having a problem and having a process
are coequal

I will go on not having a self again

I will not go on again having a self

I can decide to not worry
about the self

I can decide to be sensible 

would it help if I introduced sensory image or narrative

the archetype is again thick, bland, wet
a washcloth can be a site of ego collapse, warm

how far would you travel to visit the self

would you spend money on this journey

how open to erotic collapse are you


again in a dream a podium a basement a child a shopping mall
the child is walking down the stairs into the basement

how many aspects of self are elemental
I read a book and my child becomes this Agnes

character, ancestor, street name, a grave I visit on occasion

would you contact a person who had not invited or initiated contact
if that person was someone who had once known you to be or to have a self

in the pages of a notebook would you speculate 
on the potential merits of losing track of the problem of the self

I would like to please you

to keep you here

“here” as another site of self another
speculation or collapse

would you wait for a child to fall asleep in a dream
Agnes, and she has

Copyright © 2023 by Hannah Ensor. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 22, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.